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Kenyon Place residents displaced until 2021

-Submitted photo
Many of the units in the Kenyon Place apartment building at Friendship Haven have been gutted down to their studs following extensive damage from a fire sprinkler malfunction in August.

About 55 Kenyon Place Apartments residents remain displaced after a sprinkler malfunction flooded the apartment building in August, Friendship Haven President and CEO Julie Thorson said.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 25, a sprinkler in the attic above an unoccupied unit burst, flooding the building. By 10 a.m. that day, Friendship Haven staff had evacuated all 55 residents and moved most of them to the Brookstone Inn for temporary housing.

That week, as the initial cleanup of the apartments began, Thorson had estimated that residents would be able to move back into their apartments by mid-October. However, she now says that won’t be likely for several months.

“The damage was much more extensive than we originally thought, unfortunately,” Thorson said. “That, coupled with building supplies being difficult to get due to COVID and the derecho, residents won’t be in their apartments until into 2021.”

There are 56 units in the building and less than a dozen sustained minimal damage, Thorson explained. Many of the units have been gutted down to the studs to repair walls, floors and ceilings.

-Submitted photo
A fire sprinkler malfunction caused extensive damage in many of the units in the Kenyon Place apartment building at Friendship Haven in August.

“We still don’t have an exact figure” on the cost of the damage, she said, but estimated it in the millions.

Thorson applauded the staff at Friendship Haven who have gone above and beyond to “make the best of a not-great situation and all of this while in the middle of a pandemic.”

Of the 55 displaced residents, most have been relocated to the River Ridge and Gardens apartments on Friendship Haven’s campus, while some have chosen to stay off-campus with family or friends.

“I think the residents have been very optimistic, been very positive in a very frustrating situation,” Thorson said. “Nobody would have anticipated that we would be dealing with a catastrophe in the middle of a national emergency and they’ve been displaced from their homes – it’s very frustrating, but they trust that we’re doing everything we can to get them home as soon as possible.”

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