Fire at shelter displaces residents

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BRATTLEBORO — About 20 people staying at the homeless shelter run by the Groundworks Collaborative were forced out of their home Monday when a dryer fire caused extensive smoke damage to the shelter.

There was no visible damage to the outside of the building at 81 Royal Road, which was formerly known at Morningside Shelter.

The shelter's business manager, Jon Hoover, said no one was hurt during the fire. But an acrid smell hung heavily in the hallways of the building and fans were in every upstairs window.

Rhianna Kendrick, operations manager for Groundworks Collaborative, said the dryer fire occurred shortly before noon, when people smelled smoke. Clothing in a dryer caught fire, she said. She said 18 people had been staying at the shelter.

She said the fire caused extensive smoke damage in the shelter, which will have to be professionally cleaned before it can reopen.

Kendrick said the people living at the shelter, which included families with children, have been relocated to another location, and that the Red Cross was assisting the shelter residents with food.

"It caused fairly significant smoke damage," she said. "The smoke was pretty nasty."

She said the Brattleboro Fire Department responded quickly and put the dryer fire out.

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She said people who were in the shelter building Monday morning quickly got out.

Kendrick said she couldn't identify the new location of the shelter, but said that additional information would be posted on the shelter's Facebook page.

"People can check in and find out how they can help," she said, noting she didn't know how long the Groundworks shelter would be closed.

"We're in the midst of working on a press release," she said late Monday afternoon.

She said the Red Cross was assisting them in setting up the new temporary shelter.

"We're trying to pull it all together," she said.

A member of the Brattleboro Fire Department couldn't be reached for comment before press deadline.

Contact Susan Smallheer at or at 802 254-2311.


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