W Mulberry house fire

FIRE DAMAGE: The Rescue Mission Transitional Housing facility at 401 W. Mulberry St. sustained major damage from a fire on Saturday, June 29, 2019. The house sits vacant on July 1. Tim Bath | Kokomo Tribune

It took firefighters five hours and 35,000 gallons of water to extinguish a fire that heavily damaged parts of the Kokomo Rescue Mission's Transitional Housing residence on Saturday, June 29. 

Rescue Mission Executive Director Van Taylor said the mission uses the house as an opportunity for women who have completed and graduated from the facility's program at Open Arms to have private accommodations in a rent-style environment.

The multi-unit residence currently houses four women and two children, Taylor said, and none of them were inside the residence when the fire broke out. 

Taylor said the residents have currently made other temporary living arrangements, and it's possible Open Arms might be able to house them until further placement becomes available. 

Taylor also said the Rescue Mission is currently waiting on the insurance company to send out inspectors and provide the organization with a next step, but firefighters are not allowing anyone in the residence at this time due to unstable conditions. 

The facility has been able to provide the women and children with basic needs such as clothing and toiletries for now, but Taylor did note anyone who wishes to donate to future expenses can do so by sending them to the Rescue Mission and memo the donation "Transitions." 

According to a Kokomo Fire Department report, Saturday's fire broke out around 2:46 p.m. and damaged most of the rear side of the residence.

The report also noted that extinguishing the fire was made even more difficult because of the way the structure was built, and firefighters eventually had to fight the fire solely from the outside because of safety concerns. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials noted.

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