Red Cross shelter to stay open until Tuesday for seniors displaced from fire

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LITTLETON, Colo. -- Senior residents of a Littleton retirement complex were still not able to return home Thursday, one day after a fire forced evacuations.

Some residents of the complex of Windermere Street are staying with family and friends. Others are staying at a temporary shelter set up by the American Red Cross in the gym of Littleton United Methodist Church.

Fire officials were still investigating the cause of the fire.

Residents don't know when they'll be able to return home. Some don't know if their belongings are intact. And others don't even know if their pets are OK. On Friday, the Red Cross said the shelter will remain open until at least Tuesday.

"He's good now. Yep, smells a little smokey," Susan Fredinburg, the operations manager of the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley, said of one resident's cat, Earl.

Earl's owner had no place to go after the fire, which would've left the cat without a home as well. But the humane society stepped in.

"He was very grateful that were just going to help Earl out for as long as we need to," Fredinburg said.

Fredinburg said many of the animals were hiding, found underneath beds and couches, and on top of cupboards.

"Some of them just curled up under a towel, so you have to go in and look for them, shine a flashlight and hope you see their eyes," Fredinburg said.

And some are still missing, making for very nervous owners.

"They were all worried about them and everything," resident Richard Cowen said of his pet-owning neighbors.

Cowen is staying at the Red Cross shelter, which was set up with cots, food and medical supplies, including oxygen tanks and prescription medicines.

"So if people need their medications they are here at this shelter," American Red Cross spokeswoman Patricia Billinger said. "They can come check in and get their medications."

At this point, Cowen said he's just ready to head home.

"I don't know when that'll be," he said. "It might be tomorrow. It might be next week."

But he's thankful for the help and focusing on the positive.

"Tomorrow I'm going to the Rockies game," he said.

His game day gear, however, is still in limbo.

"It's all locked up in the apartment so I don't know what I'm going to do," he said.

There's still no word from officials when residents will be allowed back inside.

The humane society was still going through each unit searching for missing pets. Four human residents were treated for minor injuries from the fire Wednesday. All are expected to recover.

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