Red Cross sets up shelter for motel fire victims

5-alarm fire displaced several in Berks County.

Red Cross sets up shelter for motel fire victims

READING, Pa. - The American Red Cross has set up a temporary shelter at the YMCA on Washington Street in Reading for displaced victims of a huge fire in Berks County.

The blaze erupted at just before 11 a.m. Wednesday at Klein's Motel in the 4800 block of the North 5th Street Highway in Muhlenberg Township.

Victims taking advantage of the temporary shelter are people like Mary Quade.

"It was just too much," Quade said. "I came out and by the time they got there, it was already exploding. There was propane in there, there was gas in there, and it just all exploded."

Quade's husband, Charles, was part of the initial fire-fighting efforts. In fact, he grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher, but the flames just wouldn't let up.

"We seen the fire," said Charles, "and I went in to try to stop it so it didn't spread clear to the warehouse, but it was just too much. So I got out of there."

The race is also on to find long-term housing for the victims. Many stayed at the motel on a long-term basis and now have no place to call home.

The American Red Cross is helping the victims to find a permanent place.

"It's a tough situation all the way around. It certainly is, and we certainly feel for the people, and that's why with our volunteers we're looking to do case work with them. And help them move forward," said Kara Mowbray, American Red Cross.

The Red Cross did not say how long the temporary shelter will remain at the YMCA on Washington Street.

Images: Multi-alarm fire at motel in Muhlenberg

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