Last Sunday, a fire at Muscatine Tower Apartments caused more than 80 residents to temporarily lose their homes — right before Thanksgiving. Over a week has gone by, but most tenants still don’t have access to their apartments, fostering increased anxiety as temperatures continue to drop and the holiday season grows near. Many tenants fear the worst.

“Rumors are running rampant I’ve heard some outrageous stuff,” resident Jeanne Bristol said. “I hope they’re not expecting rent checks Dec. 1. That’s a big issue. A lot of people are extremely concerned they’re going to get evicted.”

Bristol describes how there has been minimal communication with the building’s owner — something only contributing to feelings of confusion and stress.

“Some of the older people are really struggling especially with the first coming up and some people … just don’t understand what’s going on, period,” Bristol said.

Because of the expedited evacuation from the apartment and transition to local hotels; as well as hotels’ additional fees to house animals, many residents had to leave their pets behind.

“For some people, the pet is all they have.” Bristol said. “One lady, she checks hers every day. And the one guy who’s on my floor, he hasn’t been able to see his animals since Tuesday, I believe.”