Manitowoc community helps fire survivors

Wilson Jr. High School's gym has been a place where residents are working with the Red Cross and Salvation Army to find a different place to live. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

MANITOWOC (WLUK) -- Shoes and a metal box, that's pretty much all Maurice Stevens has left.

"A little bit of money in there. Not real a whole lot, but, a couple bucks. It's gas money," said Stevens.

He wasn't home when his Manitowoc apartment complex caught fire Wednesday.

He says when he heard the news, he stayed calm."I just said to myself that what's the next step, what do I gotta do," he said.

And that's why he's was at Wilson Jr. High School's gym Friday morning. The school, Salvation Army and Red Cross have been working together to help everyone.

"It's important in communities to have partnerships and none more important than when people are in a time of need," said Lee Thennes, Wilson Jr. High School principal.

"As they go around the gymnasium today, they are getting the help that they need to get back on their feet. And so, today, really, recovery begins," said Barbara Behling, Red Cross chief communications officer.

"We're providing meals currently, breakfast, lunch and snacks. Of course, keeping people hydrated. We're also helping them with bedding and personal items," said Jeff Olson of the Manitowoc Salvation Army.

The Red Cross says, of the more than 80 people displaced by fire, it doesn't have a final number on how many people have found a new home.

However, Stevens told us he's in luck and found an apartment.

"I was looking for something on a farm. The guy was really nice to me," Stevens said.

Even though Stevens will have to start over, he's managed to keep a positive outlook on life.

"You can't change some of the things that have happened, but you can look forward to make things better. Life is what you make of it."

If you'd like to help those displaced by the fire, click here or here.

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