By Alex LaCasse
Posted Apr 11, 2019 at 4:31 PM Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 6:36 PM
NEWMARKET — The community has banded together to provide immediate relief for four families whose homes were destroyed in a four-alarm fire at Great View Terrace April 5.
Newmarket Community Church Pastor Patty Marsden said she and Newmarket Housing Authority Executive Director Ernest Clark II are leading the donation efforts for the families who have not been identified. She said two of the families are headed by single mothers, the other two families being young parents. She said between the four families, eight children were affected by the fire.
“Two of the families lost all the contents they had and the other two lost most of their belongings,” Marsden said. “We’re still working to ascertain what all their needs are.”
The fire was called in right before 4 p.m. to 2 Gordon Ave. and was declared under control just after 5 p.m. Deputy Fire Chief Evan Bonney said the neighborhood is comprised of about 30 subsidized housing units owned by Newmarket Housing Authority. All four apartments were damaged and declared uninhabitable. Bonney said one apartment has extensive fire damage, a second lesser fire damage and the other two units have smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
“When we arrived we found fire showing outside, at the rear of unit 6,” Bonney said. “When the ladder arrived, we were able to extinguish the fire in the rear. When it was safe to enter, we discovered the fire had spread to the attic and interior walls.”
Marsden said the Red Cross found each family temporary accommodations for the first three nights after the fire and they have since either moved in with friends or family members while they await new apartments.
“The first priority is to get everyone housed again,” Marsden said. “Because the fire affected eight children we’re doing everything we can to keep them in Newmarket so they can go to the same school.”
Marsden said a “Newmarket Fire Relief Donations” bank account at TD Bank has received more than $2,000 for the families. Tax-deductible donations can also be made through the Community Church’s website under the Pastor’s Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps anyone in the Newmarket area with emergency expenses, she said.
“Cash donations are the best way to help the families out right now because they’ll have to pay for security deposits on apartments and first and last month’s rent,” she said. ”$2,000 is very gracious but that might get one family into an apartment. Because their housing right now is temporary, there are storage issue concerns with some of the physical goods people have wanted to donate.”
Marsden praised the outpouring of support from the community, which has donated countless gift certificates for groceries and gas, in addition to clothing. She mentioned Jonny Boston’s International restaurant donating $100 gift certificates to each family to enjoy a meal out, Newmarket Storage offering the families free storage units for their remaining belongings until they find housing, and Geek to You offering to repair any unwanted computer for free to give to the families. Marsden also cited a Newmarket eighth-grader who donated the $100 she received from her family for getting straight-A’s on her report card to help.
“It’s been an amazing response from residents,” Marsden said. “As the news was breaking about the fire, I was already receiving calls asking me what we could do for the affected people, so I hope more businesses come forward to help. It brings a lot of hope, it’s been very inspirational.”