An electrical fire broke out at the St. Croix Women’s Coalition crisis center on East Street in Christiansted just after 1 a.m. Friday, gutting two rooms and causing untold damage, according to Mary Mingus, the coalition’s co-director.
"Thank god we were insured," Mingus said Monday afternoon. "Only two rooms are really totally destroyed. You could never imagine looking at it that thick smoke was billowing out of it for hours."
Ironically, repairing the gutted rooms, which need to be torn down and rebuilt, is in some ways easier than dealing with the rest of the building, which has suffered extensive smoke damage, Mingus said.
"It’s a dome building and everything inside, the entire dome is covered in sticky soot," she said. Everyone, from police to fire officials to insurance adjustors has been efficient and helpful, but the Coalition is still working out what to do next with cleanup, she said.
"It’s beyond anything a nonprofessional could possibly do," she said. First they have to figure out if the building can be cleaned at all, or if the soot and residue are too toxic and more expensive to clean than rebuild.
So far, they are still looking for local expertise in cleaning smoke damage.
"If anyone out there on St. Croix has the expertise, we could really use your help," Mingus said.
The Christiansted crisis center building will remain closed indefinitely, but its services have been moved to the nearby Alice Pfaelzer Children’s Center, the bright yellow building with blue trim at the corner of East and King Cross streets.
Counseling services will be available at the center beginning Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The coalition telephone number remains the same: (340) 773-9272, but there are only two lines in the building, so please be patient and redial if necessary, Mingus asks. The Children’s Center’s telephone number is (340) 773-9222.