Nearby Bar, Community Work to Help Victims of Hibbing Fire

By KBJR News 1

January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 25, 2013 at 9:14 PM CDT

Hibbing, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Fire officials say four of the units above the Sportsman's Restaurant and Tavern could be ready for people to move back into as early as this weekend. However, the other ten units weren't so lucky.

But just a day after the fire took everything for some people, neighbors are working hard to bring it back.

"I knew there would be a large response. I just didn't expect it to be this quickly," said Dawn Ricketson, of the donation drive she helped organize.

In the wake of the fire that left a bar without business and eleven people without a home, the silver lining to this tragedy is visible right down the road at the Brickyard bar and restaurant, where donations for victims of the fire have poured in.

"My first thought was it's so cold and these poor people that are homeless have lost everything," said Ricketson of the reason she wanted to start the drive.

Ricketson and others looking to help took to Facebook, spreading the word that anyone who had something that could help the victims of the fire could drop it off at the Brickyard. Within just hours, Ricketson said many people stopped by with donations.

"I'm just amazed at everything. There's towels, everything," said Ricketson, "It gives me goose bumps. It's just wonderful."

It's generosity that is greatly needed as the people whose homes are gone, might not have anywhere to go after Monday, when their hotel stay, arranged by the Red Cross, is up. It's a concern that officials at the Salvation Army, where victims first went for help, say was first on people's minds.

"When can I get back into my apartment? When can I get my stuff? When can I get back in?," said Lt. Randy Stahl of the concerns victims had,"That was the biggest issue [Thursday]."

The Salvation Army and the Northland Chapter of the Red Cross have been assisting victims with clothing, food and other essential items after the fire.

To Ricketson it makes sense that help like this would be given to a neighboring bar, because that's what they are – neighbors.

"This is people that we know and if this were to happen to us, I know they would do the same thing. I know they would," she said.

Anyone who wants to help can drop off items at the Brickyard through February 1st or at the Hibbing Salvation Army.

Additionally, Wells Fargo has set up a donation fund for anyone who wants to donate money.

Checks can be mailed or dropped off at any Wells Fargo location, made out to Sportsman's Apartment Tenants Fund.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.