Reach Inc. clients, staff back to work after fire

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

A community of clients and staff from Reach Inc. is getting back to work after a fire destroyed their building last week.

Reach Inc. has three new temporary locations after their main building burned down Friday.

Brandy Harrington of Saint Paul is charged with two counts of arson after police said she lit fires that burned down the Reach building and a nearby garage Friday.

Police said they don't have a motive from Harrington, but a witness said she was in a shed next to Reach, where she smoked methamphetamine that morning.

“Friday, we were all devastated and we come to work today and it's a whole new atmosphere, everybody's happy and trying to get this all going. We're flying by the seat of our pants, but it works,” Kassia Myers, a Reach CNA said.

With much of their building and supplies gone from Friday’s fire, Reach Inc.’s spirit and work remains.

The organization offers opportunities to people with disabilities and staff said moving to three new temporary locations Monday, came with some challenges.

“This morning it was kind of a little crazy because some of the clients were emotional. Some of them were crying, so we have to comfort them and assure them that everything is ok and everyone was ok,” Reach program supervisor Oppong Kyermeh said.

Dozens came to the Hand in Hand daycare building to put zip ties together.

“We got this place cleaned up, we got other things ready so that people were ready to go to their job sites and work today, the community has really pulled together with tons of donations already,” Myers said.

Other clients went back to work at Curt Manufacturing and at Chippewa River Industries, who donated their space.

“On behalf of my clients and the coworkers and the whole org. I want to say a big thank you to the community for their support and help,” Kyermeh said

Staff said they were upset after learning the fire was arson, with Brandy Harrington, now charged.

“It's very upsetting, they honestly don't know what they did,” Myers said.

“It’s very sad someone or some people do that to not us, not the clients, but the whole community. And I’m kind of happy they have been arrested and all that I can say is to me, I can forgive them, but they need to be punished for what they have done to beloved clients,” Kyermeh said.

Staff said Reach is still in need of donations to serve their 150 clients. For more information, go to the link below.

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