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Fire destroys Inside Out site 

No items are recoverable from the building that housed Inside Out Youth Services, which caught fire in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept. 27.

The fire department is still investigating the cause, but Chris Robertson, the nonprofit's recently hired executive director, says he's not focusing on whether his organization may have been targeted for arson because it serves LGBT youth.

"Whatever it was," he says, "it's not as important as where we're going from here."

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.

Robertson says the small, 23-year-old nonprofit serves about 500 kids a year. He gathered with many of the regulars following the fire to comfort them and let them know that the nonprofit would find a new home.

"This was not fatal for us," he says.

Inside Out had renter's insurance, but Robertson says he hasn't been able to reach his insurance agent to see what it will cover. Two fundraisers have already been held to help out with the costs. Donations can be made online at insideoutys.org.

Robertson says he hopes to be able to accept in-kind donations like computers and couches soon, but he currently has no place to store them. He suspects it could take months to find a permanent location for the nonprofit, but notes that several nonprofits and churches have offered temporary space. He hopes to announce a temporary location within the next two weeks.

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