Red Cross helps couple after RV fire

The American Red Cross is housing a Sioux City couple at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites after an RV fire left the pair homeless Wednesday.

“They’re doing the best they can, and that’s what I’m thankful for,” said Bill Kast, who was living out of the RV before the blaze. “At least I’m not on the streets starving.”

Kast said he had a hard time sleeping Wednesday night.

“I kept seeing images of the fire,” he said.

Kast and his girlfriend, Sonya Holtz, were driving from Sioux City to Ohio to help some friends when their RV broke down at the Quality Inn at 2001 U.S. Highway 169 two weeks ago.

While Kast tried to start the RV Wednesday, the engine caught fire.

The fire quickly spread to the rest of the RV.

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

Quality Inn management had asked Kast to remove the RV from its parking lot, so Kast tried to sell it.

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

Holtz was at St Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll being treated for depression when the fire started.

Kast said it was good she wasn’t there since she would have had a hard time getting out of the RV.

“When he called, I was freaking out and crying,” Holtz said in a phone conversation. “I was scared.”

Now the couple needs some help, Kast said.

“We could really use help,” Kast said. “The Red Cross can only help as much as they can.”

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

Bartling was unavailable Thursday.

The Red Cross provided Kast a hotel room for three days, food and toiletries. They will call afterwards to see if he still needs help, Kast said.

A few people have already given Kast some donations, including money and clothes.