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Out of the ashes: Bogey’s Diner fire refugees stay resilient

Press Photo by Mike Hricik The soot-covered visage of Humphrey Bogart covers the outside window of Bogey’s Diner on Wednesday.

In the wake of an accidental fire at Bogey’s Diner on Saturday, tenants of apartments affected by smoke are trying to stay resilient — but many still need help.

“We’re basically homeless right now, and we can’t get back into our apartments,” said Creighton Collier, one of the apartment residents.

The Red Cross stopped providing money Wednesday for 10 displaced residents to stay at local hotels. Maureen Roden, a Red Cross disaster action team responder, said the emergency assistance organization usually sets up a temporary place to stay for three days.

The Red Cross extended temporary stays to four days, and provided debit cards to residents for necessities, she said.

Roden encouraged those interested in helping to contact the Red Cross with news of any vacant rooms residents can stay in, donations or other supplies.

Residents cannot re-enter their apartments because insurance companies are still assessing extensive smoke damage, said Adam Metzker, president of Bakken Realty Concepts.

People circulated in and out of Metzker’s office Wednesday. They arrived with questions about what his company, which manages apartments near Bogey’s, can do to help them.

Metzker said he is trying to expedite relocating residents and return their rent money, already paid from May.

“The more time passes, this seems to be more of a catastrophic event for people,” he said.

Metzker expects that renovating apartments will last a few months.

Only one resident had renter’s insurance, which would have safeguarded property, Roden said.

“A big lesson for everyone in Dickinson to learn is to get renter’s insurance, no matter what,” she said.

Nearby business owners spent the week with their doors open, airing out the smoke and moving out ruined items.

Kayla Miller, owner of Serene Pedicures next to Bogey’s, said she and others at the salon have received offers to use other business spaces.

“We’re lucky. It’s a good community,” Miller said. “We’ve already gotten helped out so much.”

Metzker said Karen & Friends Hair Studio is still looking for extra chairs for hairstylists around town.

Seth Stevenson, who lived in the same building as Karen & Friends, commended the Red Cross for its help. Stevenson and his pregnant wife are staying with a friend. They’ve already lined up moving in to a new apartment on June 1.

The Red Cross will help foot the bill for the security deposit, Stevenson said.

“They did more than enough for us,” he said. “I even had to turn some of the help down.”

Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak said that the fire was “entirely accidental.” Firefighters suspect that the fire started because of an electrical problem on the ground floor of Bogey’s, he said.

However, a final, evidence-based cause will be announced soon.

“We need insurance investigators to take a look at this without us taking a look at it to confirm what we see,” Sivak said.