Arkansas senior citizen facility unlivable after fire

MARIANNA, Ark. — Dozens of senior citizens in Marianna will be looking for a new place to stay after the assisted living community they had been living in was devastated by a fire.

The River View Apartments assisted living facility on Hicky Street was deemed unlivable after a fire ravaged through the building Saturday. Investigators said the flames broke out around 1 p.m. in an upstairs room where a man was moving in.

Richard Johnson, the man moving into the unit at the time of the fire, said he had a friend helping him put some boxes on the stove, but they had no idea the stove was on at the time.

Johnson said they left to bring in more items, and the whole apartment was on fire by the time they got back.

"In my apartment, I had something like $27,000-30,000 worth of stuff that I had just moved in there, and everything's gone," Johnson said.

It didn't take long for the flames to spread throughout the building, forcing firefighters to evacuate all 36 residents.

The fire department said the complex is too damaged for anyone to live in, and investigators don't know how long the needed repairs will take. A number of agencies have chipped in to help residents, and Red Cross set up a shelter not too far from the building.

A nursing home in Marianna is also letting some displaced residents stay at its nearby facility.

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