Firefighters responded to a fire that heavily damaged the United Communities Independence program building last night. The agency is located in the former Fredericksburg School on Cussewago Road in Vernon.
Flames blazed through the night as firefighters responded to a devastating fire in the United Communities Independence Building in Meadville.
“The building is gone,” said Leanne Severo, the Executive Director of UCIP. “I mean, the structure is there but internally there’s really nothing to salvage. They told us last night we don’t have a ceiling, then they told us even the downstairs.”
Calls went out around 8:00pm Wednesday. According to reports from the scene, fire and smoke did heavy damage to the roof of the building. The building is used for administration, resident services and transportation services for clients through Crawford County.
“All of our administration, our main administration is gone. That was the top floor, it is wiped out.” Severo said.
The first floor tailored to residential services for approximately 30 clients a day. Members of the community shared some of their most cherished moments inside the facility, and what it meant to them.
“I’m just very sad about all of this,” said Debra Perrye, group home staff support. “It’s devastating and I just pray we all get through this. I wish everybody the best.”
Meadville resident Fred T. Miller, Sr. is hopeful that they’ll be able to rebuild in another location.
“Hopefully they’ll be able to rebuild somewhere and recuperate that way they can help out the handicap people in the facilities for the surrounding areas in the Meadville area.” Miller said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Services at UCIP are suspended until further notice. The United Independence Community Program hopes to get back up on their feet in the next few weeks.