Cook Community Pulls Together After Devastating FIre

By KBJR News 1

June 21, 2013 Updated Jun 21, 2013 at 1:46 PM CDT


A fire that destroyed two businesses and left at least eight residents without homes in Cook, Minnesota last night, rekindled this morning.

The community is now pulling together to help those effected by the blaze.

The fire that left at least 8 residents without homes began Monday night around seven on South River Street at the Gilley's Naturals business.

The blaze quickly spread to the neighboring Dollar Barn, destroying both businesses and leaving eight apartments above the them uninhabitable.

Fire Chief Johnson says the floors were burned and the one of the walls had begun to collapse shortly after they arrived.

He feared what would happen if he sent in his crews.

"I didn't want nobody in there because there's a basement down there about ten feet full of water and if somebody went through the floor you know what would happen," says Johnson.

When the chief arrived the building was engulfed in flames he knew the safest choice was to use this excavator...and tear it down.

"If it was still standing the way it was built we'd be here for another week," Johnson adds.

Although no lives were lost to the fire, many personal items were.

Paulette Jones was visiting from Kansas City when the fire broke out.

"They all burned up in the fire except for my purse...her purse was in the apartment so basically all her money all her identity is in ashes now with the fire, says Jones."

Paulette's sister also lost all of her medications in the fire. The Red Cross is currently helping to replace them and aiding the other displaced residents in finding food and shelter.

"There was 8 families that needed assistance and i was able to make sure that they had their hotel make sure they had clothing make sure they had food, says Christina Hujanen of the Red Cross.

In fact the entire community seems to be making contributions.

"There's an account being set up at the credit union, there's donations being set up to the trinity church, the lions club has stepped forward to offer assistance," says Hujanen.

Even McDonalds, offering free food to the firefighters and displaced residents.

The Comet Theater in Cook is starting a Facebook thread to collect donations for the victims of the apartment fire.