Pine Ridge residents currently placed in temporary housing

A firefighter can be seen on the roof of the nine-story Pine Ridge Apartments building on July 30. Marquette City Fire Department investigators expect to conduct an on-site investigation into the cause of the fire within the next week. All 145 residents have either sought or been placed in temporary housing. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

MARQUETTE — Lakeview Arena will no longer function as a Red Cross Shelter for residents of the Pine Ridge Apartments as of 9 a.m. today.

The handful of residents who were left at the facility have been placed in temporary housing, more than three weeks after a July 30 fire on the roof of the apartment complex forced them out of their homes.

No date has been set for the 145 displaced residents to return to their apartments, but progress is being made, Marquette County Emergency Manager Teresa Schwalbach said.

“Pending approval of the architect plans, repairs should begin next week on the smoke alarm system,” Schwalbach said. “Repairs on the elevator are near completion but require a final inspection. Air quality testing is completed and awaiting results.”

In a release Thursday, Red Cross officials said the termination of the current shelter at Lakeview “is a positive indicator that the ongoing recovery efforts … are going well.

“While volunteer Red Cross shelter case workers continue to actively assist people impacted by the fire cope with many challenges, including mental health issues, housing assistance and various other recovery measures, the group remains committed to helping people throughout the entire recovery process,” the release states. “With an outpouring of assistance from the Marquette community, the Marquette Housing Commission is actively seeking additional transitional housing options for shelter residents to move into prior to their eventual re-entry to the apartment complex.”

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, Marquette City Fire Department Sgt. Kirk Vogler said Thursday.

Some aspects of the probe, including interviews, have already taken place, said Vogler, who’s acting as lead fire investigator.

Investigators will be visiting the site itself sometime in the next week.

“Because of what burned up there, they had to actually identify the chemicals that are left so we can determine the protocols that we need to use to investigate safely,” Vogler said.

Officials say those wishing to assist with the remaining recovery work should contact the Red Cross at 906-228-3659 for additional information on ways to become involved.

“Additionally, the account established … at River Valley Bank in Marquette remains open and is still accepting donations for those affected by the fire,” the release states.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.