by: Laurie Johnson, November 27, 2007 12:11:00 am
The Bellerive Apartments in Southwest Houston are an independent living facility for elderly low-income residents. All the residents were safely evacuated from the burning apartment building. Officials aren't yet sure what caused the fire. Houston Housing Authority Chief of Staff Steve Michalman says they hope to renovate and repair the burned building, but it's too soon to know if that will be possible.
"Right now we have a disaster recovery team there as well as other professionals doing assessments. So we're hoping to have a better idea in the next day or so exactly how extensive the damage is."
Michelman says there's a possibility some of the undamaged floors might be reopened fairly quickly and residents could move back in to their original units. The Houston Housing Authority gets much of it's funding from the U.S. HUD department. Michelman says they're already talking to federal officials about getting assistance to quickly move the residents into permanent housing. In the meantime, they'll be in hotels at least through the weekend. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.