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Detroit Lakes Armory prepares for evacuees

National Guardsmen prepared for evacuees at the Detroit Lakes' Armory Friday afternoon by assembling cots and collecting donations.

As the City of Detroit Lakes shifts from helping with sandbags to helping with shelter and food, National Guardsmen at the Armory are preparing for a crowd.

As of Friday afternoon, no Fargo-Moorhead area evacuees had arrived yet, but Jim Bakkila, a readiness non-commissioned National Guard officer for Detroit Lakes and Bemidji, said he expected evacuees to start arriving later this evening and throughout the weekend.

Regardless, preparations are being made -- one National Guardsman was assembling green cots and lining them up against the wall, and donations of food, including milk and frozen pizzas, were starting to crowd tables inside.

"I don't know where I'm going to put all of it," Bakkila said. "We're running out of fridge space."

The Armory will be Detroit Lakes' first line of defense for housing refugees from the Fargo-Moorhead flooding, with overflow to the Middle School.

Volunteers and concerned citizens can call 218-844-7053 with questions or to donate their time, money, supplies, or house for incoming evacuees.