Cause of major downtown Lapeer fire can’t be determined

Some residents still need help recovering from their losses
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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LAPEER, Mich. (WJRT) - A month after a 10-alarm fire destroyed businesses and apartments in downtown Lapeer, investigators say they can’t determine how the flames broke out.

The cause of the fire officially was ruled as undetermined on Tuesday, according to the Lapeer Downtown Development Authority. The people who were displaced in the fire are still in need of help to get themselves back on their feet.

“There are still a few people looking for places to live. They’re looking for assistance in trying to find rentals and houses, which are few and far between,” said Chris Carey, the CEO of Tech Smart USA in downtown Lapeer.

He’s helped to spearhead fundraising efforts to help the fire victims. Over the last month, there’s been a tremendous amount of community support in the form of cash donations, meals, hotels and transportation.

“There’s still people that are staying at the Holiday Inn in Lapeer. There are people that have found a good transition to their life,” Carey said. “So there’s a lot of people who have been successful in getting going, but also a handful of people who do need some help.”

Debra Raska lost everything in her apartment. Fast forward a month and she’s about to get an apartment and she starts a new job on Wednesday.

“I can actually say that God has been good,” Raska said. “I’m doing very well and I’m blessed.”

She said her only big need right now is some furniture.

“I’m starting from the bottom. It’s going to be an empty apartment,” Raska said. “So like I said, just starting work I need furnishings. I don’t care what they look like. I’m grateful for what I can get.”

Anyone who wants to help Raska or the other fire victims can call Tech Smart USA at 810-936-0536.

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