Community reacts to recent events in Albert Lea

Jordyn Reed
Updated: December 05, 2020 11:17 PM
Created: December 05, 2020 10:59 PM

(ABC 6 News) - It has been anything but an easy year for Freeborn County and this week, the tight-knit and typically quiet town of Albert Lea made headlines twice.

The year started with Waseca police officer Arik Matson's injury, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of tragic deaths, and then this week's events which included an active shooter standoff on Sunday and a massive warehouse fire on Thursday night.

Sunday's standoff put a shelter in place order in one part of the town and also left a state trooper injured. Then on Thursday night, a massive warehouse fire that forced residents in that area to relocate.

Now, the community is trying to process everything that happened since Sunday and are working on moving on after these life changing events.

"I never in a million years, or never in four-generations of Albert Leans, expected this much action in sunny, little Albert Lea, MN...Not ever," Robert Hoffman, the landlord of some of the relocated residents, said.

For both events, community members sought shelter at the United Methodist Church. Pastor John Mitchem added, "In the past week, the Methodist Church housed over 140 people from Shady Oaks on Sunday.  And, then on Thursday evening we were the evacuation point for those at the fire. It's just been a really long 2020."

Looking on the brighter side of things, the four families who needed to relocate all have new places to move into. They also received a lot of help on Saturday afternoon from friends, family, neighbors and even strangers, showing that right now it is about coming together and supporting one another. 

"While we do have to stay socially distanced and all that stuff there are a lot of people trying to watch out for each other in hard times and good times," Phillip Liem, a displaced Albert Lea resident, said.


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