After the fire: Postville knows how to come together - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

After the fire: Postville knows how to come together

POSTVILLE (KWWL) -- The community of Postville knows a thing or two about coming together. It was tested during the immigration raid back in 2008. It was tested again this weekend when a fire destroyed the town's historic downtown bakery building and displaced 18 people in apartments above.

"These folks are all starting from scratch, really," Pastor Steve Brackett of Saint Paul Lutheran Church said. "Imagine losing all of your possessions. Some people lost cell phones and money and anything they had in their apartment."

The community of Postville has stepped up, bringing donations to the church, and they didn't wait.

"Within literally hours of the fire starting, we had people starting to give donations."

Locals will tell you they've learned how to come together fast after a year and a half of large scale response after the may 2008 immigration raid at Agriprocessors.

"We're very practiced at it, I'll say, in Postville," Brackett said.

In fact, with 18 people displaced, only five needed an immediate place to stay, others staying with family and friends. That's something the Red Cross has taken notice of in the Midwest.

"You know, we'll open a lot of shelters, and we'll just have a handful of people, but that's the Midwest," Tri-State Chapter Red Cross Shelter Operations Manager Shawn Scott-Fitzgerald said.

Though immediate clothing and housing needs are taken care of, there's more to go.

"When we get them into apartments, they're going to need kitchen supplies. They're going to need television sets, VCRs, things that we all take for granted," Brackett said.

But even faced with a tough situation, as always, the people of Postville say its times like these that actually build up a community.

"This could be something we add to the list of bad things that have happened in Postville, and I challenged people not to do that, but to instead say, no this is another positive moment for us. This is a time where we've all come together as we always do. To help our neighbors," Brackett said.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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