Fire destroys Kennewick domestic violence shelter

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- KEPR is following up on a fire that swept through a local domestic violence shelter.

The fire spread through the Kennewick four-plex so quickly, several people barely made it out in time. Within minutes, some of the Tri-Cities most-downtrodden families were faced with yet another challenge.

Four mothers and eleven kids lost their place homes. They moved into the spot on West First Avenue, under the most delicate of circumstances. For the past several years, the complex has housed local victims of domestic violence. One family had just moved in. And another family had been there more than a year and was close to moving out.

The fire swept through the duplex two days before the start of school. Not only did kids escape with only the clothes on the backs, but all their school supplies was ruined.

The families are now at an emergency shelter, creating a whole new difficulty. Domestic violence rates are increasing in the Tri-Cities. It's packed emergency housing. And the fifteen new people are an added strain. Workers say those in need will be accommodated for as long as possible.

It could take upwards of six months before anyone can live here again. But a local domestic violence counselor says it best: "They've gone through more horrendous things before, so they'll get through this."