EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


May 9, 2014

City rallies to help fire victims

HAVERHILL — People across the community are stepping up to help victims of Wednesday’s fire.

The city is working with Forest Acres apartments to find suitable housing for people who lost their homes, while local organizations are collecting money, clothes and other items for the victims.

“We’ve been looking into hotel and other housing options for residents who were displaced by the fire,” said David Van Dam, Mayor James Fiorentini’s chief of staff. “At this point, we’re researching locations in hopes of providing some housing options.’’

Van Dam said the city’s priority is to take care of the displaced residents and help them transition to other housing.

“We have many students who are in our schools and are part of these families, and we want to help maintain the continuity of their daily lives,” he said.

Van Dam said the mayor plans to set up an account at a local bank where donations can be made to help families affected by the fire. He said additional information will be released to the public once it becomes available.

Ruth’s House thrift shop at 111 Lafayette Square is working closely with the Red Cross and other agencies to help the victims

“We’re willing to give them all the clothes they need,” said Mary Ellen House, manager of Ruth’s House.

Ruth’s House is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information is available by calling Ruth’s House at 978-521-5575.

The Haverhill YMCA is also chipping in. Two YMCA staff members were at the fire scene yesterday morning handing out T-shirts to displaced residents who showed up to see what was left of their apartments.

“We’re trying to ask families specifically what their needs are,” said YMCA Director Tracy Fuller. “One of our little girls (a club member) lived in one of the apartments that was affected.”

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