The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 18th

Memorial Service Held for Sole Victim of Fire

A small group of family and friends gathered Monday to remember Roger Vanden Dorpel, who died in a fire Halloween night at Brookstone Apartments.

The memorial was held at United Church of Chapel Hill UCC for Dorpel, 51, who worked at UNC Hospitals as an X-ray technician. Alyson Jackson-Snavely, emergency services director for the Orange County American Red Cross, characterized the service as a private affair.

"Quite a few people were there, but he was not the sort of person who would have wanted a big deal anyway," she said.

Officials still have not released the cause of the blaze that took Dorpel's life, but investigative teams continue working to find the origin.

"They have concluded the site work but are still trying to compile all the information," said Chapel Hill Deputy Fire Chief Robert Bosworth. "They have nothing to pinpoint the cause or point of origin."

With a fire causing intense building damage, investigators first must prove what didn't happen, he said.

That is, they have to disprove arson, Bosworth said.

In the meantime, efforts are being made to accommodate all of the victims left homeless as a result of the blaze.

The American Red Cross has provided emergency relief and resources like shelter and clothing to those affected. By cooperating with apartment complex officials, nearly all of the victims have been housed.

"We've had fairly extensive contact with the clients, and the apartment complex has been extremely helpful, really accommodating," Jackson-Snavely said.

Since the building where the fire occurred has been condemned, victims have sought alternative housing.

Many of the victims looked to Brookstone for a new apartment, and the complex has assisted some in finding housing in other apartment communities, leaving only two former residents still in hotels.

Two residents who were burned in the fire have been treated at UNC Hospitals and are staying with friends. They will remain there until they are self-sufficient, Jackson-Snavely said.

Brookstone Apartments complex is also trying to recover some sense of normalcy.

Of the 16 apartments affected by the fire last week, eight will be rebuilt and eight brought back up to code.

The complex's property manager said it would be inappropriate to comment on when construction of the structures will begin or how they will be funded.

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.


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