St. Norbert College President Brian Bruess says college officials were quick to recognize the severity of the situation early Wednesday morning, as news broke of the fire on South Broadway Street on De Pere’s east side.
“We knew pretty instantaneously that we had a serious situation on the other side of the river,” he told Local 5, “and then we learned pretty quickly that we had faculty and one alumn involved and so it was a real quick response.”
Two faculty members and one alumn of the college were residents of the building, but Bruess says the college’s response extended beyond those connections.
“Had the city needed us to house all the 20 people or so that were impacted,” he said, “we were positioned to do that.”
Currently, four victims of the fire are staying on the college’s campus.
Bruess credits the relationship between the college and city with the response.
“It’s just identifying where the opportunities are and pursuing it,” he said. “And when you have a relationship that’s this healthy and this strong between the city and the college, we can get to problem-solving really quick and really easy.”
St. Norbert College has established a fund on behalf of victims of the fire, donations can be made at the bursar’s office, with checks payable to St. Norbert College.
100 percent of the funds will help support the three victims of the fire with ties to the college.