Fund-raiser will become very important

Fire damages Safe Home shelter.



A fire has caused extensive damage to the Laurens County Safe Home, a domestic violence shelter, and now, a fund-raising opportunity becomes even more critical, the agency’s executive director said Monday.

On July 16, the Safe Home became eligible for the fund-raiser - Silent Tears, a dollar for dollar match of donations up to $75,000. On July 24, about 5 p.m., fire took out a sizable portion of the shelter and made supplies inaccessible, Dawn Ardelt told The Chronicle.

The fire is under investigation, Meanwhile, in order to build back, the Safe Home is going to have to bring its shelter for women, men and children up to modern fire codes, ie a full sprinkler, fire-suppression system. “This makes the fund-raiser even more important,” said Ardelt, adding that the organization’s board is going to come up with a full press release and action plan going forward. There are cameras, and investigators will be accessing that footage. Additional patrols of the shelter are being done by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office; Ardelt expressed her heartfelt thanks to all firefighters who responded (the shelter location is secret because of the sensitive nature of their work).

Services are being provided in a different way, and alternate housing is being provided. Ardelt said local businesspeople have offered temporary office space, which must be adapted for social-distancing guidelines. Some work is being done from the Safe Home office, located behind the shelter.

The burned shelter has been secured, Ardelt said.


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