Last Thursday turned out to be “moving day” for dozens of residents of the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. They returned less than a month after an early morning fire on March 11 destroyed a sizeable portion of their Indio facilities.
“The fire was so thick that our facilities manager, Randy, had to crawl out,” resident Kelly Worthley recalled of that morning. “So much smoke. It was black. It was a panicky scene.”
A handful of volunteers putting the finishing touches on the rebuilt CVRM. Local construction crews worked around the clock restoring the Rescue Mission at no cost.
Some say it is a miracle.
“To be able to move back in here, knowing the sacrifices made by many people to get us back here, and to to get us here in a timely manner,” Sandy Carroll, the Rescue Mission’s development coordinator, said thankfully of the work made.
The fire damaged most of the Rescue Mission’s back area. Carroll said it is hard to recognize the new facility. Prior to the fire, the laundry room, maintenance room, and food pantry were separate buildings. Now, the three areas are under one roof.
But the biggest difference is in the kitchen, which was painted in brighter colors and equipped with brighter lights.
“I love it, I love it,” Carroll exclaimed. “If you came in here to eat, I’d think you’d be a happy person!”
The Rescue Mission is waiting for new mattresses for the men’s living quarters. The old mattresses were badly damaged because they were located less than six feet away from the flames.
But residents are anxious about returning to the Rescue Mission. They have been staying at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio since the blaze with no privacy and no quiet time.
The Rescue Mission is planning a grand re-opening celebration on Wednesday.