St. Vincent de Paul encourages people who need help to reach out following fatal fire in Dayton

DAYTON — The Montgomery County Coroner still has not been able to identify the five people found dead in a burned down vacant home in Dayton last week along North Broadway Street.

>>PHOTOS: Homeless shelters and Dayton fatal fire

Their deaths left us wondering why people who seek shelter are not going to the homeless shelters we have.

News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott went to Saint Vincent de Paul in Dayton to find out why.

She says outside the home in Dayton where five people died in a fire, there is still debris, soot and charred wood all over.

But there is something new in the yard, a memorial to honor the lives lost.

>>RELATED: New concerns of homelessness following fatal fire in Dayton

“I promised that I’m going to take care of this until I die,” said Annette Gibson-Strong of Dayton. “I’m going make sure that they are remembered.”

She told McDermott she knew the victims.

“They were normal people,” said Gibson-Strong. “They were down on their luck, just like everybody else.”

Down on their luck with nowhere to stay, except a shelter.

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McDermott asked Strong why the people she knew did not go to a shelter like Saint Vincent de Paul for help.

“The first time they messed up,” she explained. “They put them out.”

They were kicked out due to bad behavior, according to Strong.

McDermott went to the shelter Thursday to see if that was true.

“Violence is one of those things that we’re not going to tolerate,” said John Hunter, Director of Shelter Ministries at St. Vincent. “We will give consequences or ask them to exit to shelter.”

He said safety to others in the shelter is a top priority.

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Strong thinks the shelter should accommodate those who act out.

“Put them in one area, away from other people that they don’t want to stir, but don’t turn them away,” she told McDermott.”

St. Vincent says they do not do that.

“We try not to isolate people,” said Hunter. “We don’t want anybody to feel excluded.”

They don’t want to do that especially since some people at the shelter struggle with their mental health or may battle addiction issues.

“Substance use is another reason for them not coming into the shelter,” Hunter explained.

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“A lot of the people are alcohol, drugs, whatever,” said Strong. “And they mess up there.”

Others seek shelter for all sorts of reasons.

“They might be fleeing domestic violence,” Hunter told McDermott. “In a bad relationship. Mom, dad kicked them out.”

No matter the reason, St. Vincent’s wants to see people who need help come to them.

“We have room and we will continue to try to make as much room as possible for anybody that comes to us,” said Hunter.

Strong wants to see people remember the lives lost in last week’s fatal fire.

“A dollar store flower, dollar store light to honor these people who deserve to be honored.”

>>PHOTOS: Flames rip through 2 homes in Dayton; 5 bodies recovered during investigation

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the DFD Fire Investigation Unit at 937-333-TIPS.

News Center 7 will continue to follow this developing story.

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