A fire has heavily damaged a nearly-completed assisted living facility in northwest Iowa. The project aims to fill an assisted living shortage in the community and has now been set back.
Pictures on social media Tuesday showed the roof of the RiverView Ridge Senior Living Center in Rock Valley engulfed in flames. A post on the project’s Facebook page says they’ll have to start all over.
The center was set to open later this month. Board president Todd Van Tol said this is hard for the community. They’ve been working on this project for at least the last three years.
“I don’t have all the answers yet, but it’s pretty devastating for at least three-quarters of the building,” Van Tol said. “We’ll have to see what we can do with some of the rest of it with smoke damage and that kind of stuff, but right now it’s incredibly devastating.”
There are few assisted or independent senior living options in town, so people were waiting for the 40-room facility, Van Tol said.
“There’s a group of people that sold their homes that are expecting to move there in the next 30 to 90 days. So essentially their home was burned down,” Van Tol said. “So we’ve got to help them come up with the next plan.”
Van Tol says 14 of the 40 rooms had already been signed for. He says the community need is there, so the board is looking at its options going forward after the fire. The board will be meeting with its insurance company and hopes to see the center rebuilt.
A study done a few years ago said Rock Valley needed an assisted living facility with 60 to 70 rooms to accommodate its aging population. Van Tol said the plan was to start with 40 rooms and add more later.
The Rock Valley Fire Department did not return a request for comment.