Evansville, IN – Sprinkler system activated for fire at shelter

A Thursday night fire at Albion Fellows Bacon Center damaged the shelter and left one employee with smoke inhalation, the organization said.

According to a Friday afternoon news release, “residents have been safely relocated and alternate plans for providing services have been enacted.” Albion has long housed people who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse.

Ashley McReynolds, Albion’s director of advancement, said the fire started around 10:30 p.m. The damage primarily occurred in the kitchen, but there’s also water damage to “several communal living spaces” after the Evansville Fire Department extinguished the blaze.

“We are unsure how long it will take for the shelter to reopen as insurance adjusters, fire department, etc., are still evaluating,” she told the Courier & Press. “But all other services, including our crisis lines and response service, are still operating normally.”

McReynolds provided security camera images that show a thick coil of fire rising from what appears to be a stove. The photo doesn’t show anyone in the room at the time.

The damage was limited thanks to a sprinkler system the organization recently installed after receiving grant funding from the West Side Nut Club, the City of Evansville Endowment fund, and the Brave Heart Foundation, Albion said in a subsequent news release.

The injured employee, who Albion didn’t name, also played a huge role in attempting to put out the fire, as well as evacuating residents and their pets to safety.

The employee is recovering from their injuries and is “being hailed as acting calmly and heroically,” the release states.

Albion will work with the YWCA, Holly’s House and others to continue to provide shelter to women and men in need while restoration efforts are underway. All other services are still up and running.

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