Shelter fire displaces 21 |

Shelter fire displaces 21

F.T. Norton

The Red Cross was called in this afternoon to assist Friends in Service Helping with finding accommodations for 21 men displaced by an electrical fire this morning at the city’s only men’s shelter.

“These people are living in crisis mode as it is, now we’ve added to the crisis,” said Gerie Stanko, FISH director of development.

Fire fighters were called to 57 Gibson Way just after 7:15 a.m. when smoke was seen in the nearly 100-year-old brick building leased by FISH from the state on the Stewart Complex in southeast Carson City.

“The fire was in the wall between a vanity and a bedroom. It appeared as though it had been either burning or brewing for a while because over the years its done damage to the interior stud and finally turned into a fire,” said Carson City Fire Chief Stacey Giomi.

The building will be without electricity for at least a month.

“We suspect we have to replace all wiring within Focus House and may be looking at the need to raise $25,000 or even more,” said Jim Peckham, FISH executive director.

He said the fire’s timing couldn’t be worse.

“Our shelter referrals in the last two weeks have dramatically increased,” he said. “In years past we used to have a much more transient population. More recently the residents have been people who’ve lost their jobs and they live in the community.”

FISH has operated Focus House for three decades and this is the first known fire, he said.

To donate to the restoration of the shelter, call FISH at 882-FISH, or send donations to FISH at 139 E. Long St., Carson City. You can also donate online at


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