MELBOURNE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The team behind Morgan's Place says they help disabled kids live better, healthier lives. But after a devastating fire there, they're the ones who are asking for help.
Kristen Malfara, Morgan's Place Executive Director, said the fire started with whatever was plugged into an electrical outlet.
“The working theory is that it was something that was charging,” Malfara said. “We had a battery charger in the outlet, they're pretty sure that's what caught on fire.”
She says the fire only damaged one room, but the smoke is another story. It got into every nook and cranny of the building - coating and soaking into everything that disabled kids use to play and learn.
“They're so medically fragile,” Malfara said. “We've got them with respiratory issues, and traches, and everything in this room is ‘touch me.’ So they're lying on all the surfaces, touching them, and putting them in their mouths and their eyes are close to everything. We're not really sure if standard cleaning procedures will work.”
Malfara is bracing herself for the worst possible outcome.
“They've told us to prepare for a long haul. It's going to be three or four months minimum until we get the building back. We're going to have to replace everything in it, at that point.”
Malfara says insurance should cover the big stuff, but they'll be losing out on operating money they need to get through the coming months.
“We have the mortgage, and we still have our insurance premiums, and our utilities, and deductibles, and I have one staff person - everybody else is a volunteer.”
She says her worst worry is for the dozens of disabled kids who rely on Morgan's Place.
“This is a place that was built just for them, so now that they don't have it, it's going to be difficult to find things for them to do over the summer.”
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