Couple left homeless

By JESSE MAJOR

jmajor@messengernews.net

A Sioux City man and woman are homeless after the RV they were living in caught fire in a Fort Dodge parking lot shortly before noon Wednesday.

“Everything is completely lost,” Fort Dodge Fire Department Capt. Steve Hergenreter said. “They were living out of it.”

Bill Kast and Sonya Holte’s RV broke down two weeks ago, so they parked it in the Quality Inn parking lot at 2001 U.S Highway 169. After management asked the two to move the vehicle from the parking lot, they moved it behind the hotel.

Kast was trying to sell the broken-down RV so he could remove it from the property.

He was in the process of selling the RV to Dick Erickson when the fire started.

“I was trying to get it started and it went up in flames,” Kast said.

Erickson was prepared to buy the RV – until it caught fire.

When the engine fire started, Kast and Erickson got away from the RV quickly, Kast said.

“Then I remembered my dog was in there,” he said.

He ran into the vehicle and saved his dog before the fire spread to the rest of the RV.

No one was in the RV and no one was injured.

“It took not long at all,” Erickson said. “There was all that plastic and stuff.”

The RV was filled to the top with clothes and boxes, firefighters said.

After the vehicle caught fire, Erickson still gave Kast some money.

“I feel so bad for him,” he said.

Kast said that he had no money when his RV broke down.

“I’ve been without food for a whole week,” he said.

Kast and Holte were waiting for Supplemental Security Income, he said.

He’s unsure of what he’ll do now.

“I’ll just wander the streets, I guess,” he said, through tears. “I’ve got nowhere to go. Nothing.”

The American Red Cross is expected to help the two get back on their feet, Hergenreter said.

“We will see if there’s anything we can help with,” Bob Bartling, disaster program manager for Greater Northwest Iowa, said. “We’re working on finding a caseworker to handle it.”

Bartling said he didn’t have much information yet.

“I’m sure we’ll be able to assist them one way or another,” he said.