Damage may be heavy from Inside Out fire

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Shawna Kemppainen
, the former executive director of Inside Out Youth Services, says she hasn't yet talked with current ED Chris Robertson about the scope of this morning's fire at Inside Out's 1409 Potter Drive location. But from what she's gathered so far, "it sounds like it is a heavy loss."

Inside Out offers programs that "provide safe space and acceptance where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning youth can express their feelings, build their self-reliance, and connect to trusted adults for support and advocacy," as put by its website. It moved into its Potter Drive space in August, having relocated from the garden level of the Independent building on South Nevada Avenue.

Tonight the nonprofit was supposed to have held an open house; instead, it will hold a 3:30 p.m. rally for its volunteers and the kids they serve. Kemppainen says she expects some of the latter, in particular, to take the fire hard. Though the building itself isn't Inside Out, and though the group's been there for a relatively short time, she says that for “kids who found that place first, the first place to open their heart, it can be really difficult.”

We've called Robertson in hopes of finding out more, and will update if and when we hear back. In the meantime, here's the entirety of the release:

Around 3:30am this morning Inside Out Youth Services caught on fire. The current cause of the fire is unknown.

We will not be hosting our Open House this evening. Our paramount concerns are around our youth. We will be having a rally for our youth and volunteers at the location across the street at 3:30pm.

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