Some displaced residents of Riverview Towers allowed to move back in after fire

NEW ALBANY, In (WDRB) – After a week away from their homes, dozens of New Albany public housing residents are being allowed back in after a fire last week.

Sunday, 67 residents of the 160 displaced were allowed to return to the 16-story apartment building.

The fire last week cut off power to the building including air conditioning and the building was deemed unsafe and uninhabitable.

“They put me at the Radisson Hotel in Clarksville which I thought was pretty neat and so now I am going back today and get back together again,” Riverview resident Gary Graves, who has lived in the building for 8 years, said.

Residents who live on floors one through six and floor 16 were allowed back in. Those floors now have temporary AC. Yards of wires and cables line the halls from the utility closet to a generator outside.

“We will continue the temporary service for the additional floors and we will notify those residents after the inspection and a few things and try to get them here as quickly as possible,” New Albany Public Housing Authority Interim Director David Duggins said.

The transition has been a costly one for the complex.

“It’s about $16,000 a day is what we’ve been spending on food, lodging, and overtime. We have $12,000 in gift cards so and that was only half,” Duggins said.

Residents were given $150 gift cards upon moving back in to help restock their fridges after everything in them had to be thrown out.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will be in New Albany to meet with the Mayor and Riverview officials on Tuesday.

“Right now, the safety and well-being of our residents has been the number one priority. We will worry about that when we have the opportunity to sit down and kind of digest it,” Duggins said.

The New Albany Housing Authority hopes to have all the remaining residents back in their apartments within the next week.

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