HOUGHTON - When a morning fire ripped through Heritage Manor on Montezuma Avenue in Houghton Friday, residents were taken to Dee Stadium for wellness checks and then bused to Michigan Technological University for further care.
Told it may take a week to be able to move back into Heritage Manor, officials at Michigan Tech decided to step up and help out the cause.
"They'll be with us until Wednesday," said Travis Pierce, director of housing at Michigan Tech.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Wadsworth Hall on the Michigan Technological University campus is currently home to many of the displaced Heritage Manor residents. The housing is temporary, as many Tech students will be moving into the residence halls later this week.
Pierce said many of the Heritage Manor residents were placed in 15 rooms in Wadsworth Hall located on Tech's campus and meals have been provided by Tech Dining Services. Unfortunately, the housing is temporary, as students move into the residence halls later this week. Classes are set to resume Sept. 4.
"Students started arriving a couple of weeks ago but the bulk of students will start arriving about Aug. 25," he said.
Because the residence hall has already been feeding student-athletes and orientation team members, meals were provided for the residents of Heritage Manor.
"They eat with the rest of us, which is great," Pierce said. "They're part of our community and community is one of our core values as an institution."
After Wednesday, the Heritage Manor residents will be dispersed throughout the community. Some of the people will move over to the Douglass House in Houghton; some have already been living at GardenView Assisted Living and Memory Care in Calumet and some will live in Laurium.
Since the incident, the community has been asked to help in any way possible. Donations are being taken at the Houghton Housing Commission, which is overseeing the well-being of the residents and handling living situations until they are able to move back into Heritage Manor. Donations of money and clothing, as well as toiletries, are being sought. Because meals were being provided at Michigan Tech, food was not an issue.
However, the day of the fire, after hearing a plea for help on the radio, a local business stepped up to offer services. Peterson's Fish Market in Hancock donated nearly 60 meals Friday to accommodate those in need.
"When they announced on the radio they needed help, we took (meals) to the Dee Stadium," said Pat Peterson, owner of Peterson's Fish Market. "We provided meals for more than 50 residents and helpers. We provided meals for about 60 people, really."
Peterson said her crew backed up baked and fried fish with baked potatoes, fries and cole slaw. They also provided cutlery and anything else they may have needed to eat comfortably after being shaken up from the fire.
"We believe in helping other people," she said. "That's the backbone of our community here. Everybody jumps in and helps when there's a tragedy. That's what great about here."
Cash and toiletries are being requested for donations. To donate, call the city of Houghton at 482-1700, or send donations to the Houghton City Center c/o the Houghton Housing Commission, 616 Shelden Avenue, Houghton, MI 49931.