“My son went down to the basement and saw that there was a small fire in the corner of the house,” says Roberto Rivera, who lives on the first floor of the building. “Then my daughter went upstairs and got the neighbors up and moving because there was a fire in the house.”
When your front door is boarded up, it’s tough to find silver linings. But today, Rivera and his family are just thankful they noticed the fire in time.
They’ve lost some possessions, but all that matters tonight is that they and all their neighbors are all safe inside hotel rooms.
“We are assisting five families, 23 people,” says Don Cawrse, a volunteer with the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “There are about 14 adults and the rest of them are children, ranging in age from 2 to 18.”
The fire didn’t do too much damage. In fact, it was pretty much contained to one corner of the building, but it did reveal extensive problems inside.
Until the problems get fixed, no one can move back in.
“It sucks that it has to come to this for our landlord to come… and fix what he was supposed to fix a while ago,” says Rivera. “Faulty wiring in the house? Come on, this is something you’ve been warned about in the house months ago, by us.”
The Red Cross is putting the residents up in a hotel tonight. After that, they’ll have to find a place to stay until a building inspector deems their apartments safe.
“We had out tree up already and decorations in the house,” says Rivera. “It kind of saddened me because I took down their stockings just at least to have them with us wherever we may have to go.”
Firefighters believe faulty wires sparked this morning’s fire. Residents tell us they’re not sure when the problem will be fixed, or when they’ll be able to move back into their homes.