WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Dozens of Watervliet residents who lost everything they owned in a devastating three building fire are now receiving some much needed help from their community. NEWS10’s Anya Tucker found that it’s coming from several sources, including the kindness of strangers in the form of donations.
Pedro Valentine is holding a check that’s more than just money. It’s a lifeline.
“And I want to say thank you to the community of Watervliet they helped us in so many way,” he says.
A massive fire, which spread to his family’s apartment, claimed most of what he and his sister Keishla Amberth owned, as well as their close friend and her children.
The buildings, which fire officials say are a total loss, were being prepped for demolition on Tuesday. Police say the blaze was accidentally set by a resident who had discarded a cigarette on a pet bed.
The fire ended up destroying three apartment buildings and displaced about 20 residents.
But local businesses, the school district, and Watervliet residents quickly rallied to help. Collecting clothes and gift cards for children as well as raising money to help the fire victims recover from the loss.
“It’s one thing to lose something here and there, but everything? That devastating,” said Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli.
He says the Watervliet Charitable Foundation was able to cut $1,000 checks for each family.
But Patricelli says there is also another fund set up at the Pioneer Bank in Watervliet, which has been receiving plenty of donations from city businesses and citizens to be given to the fire victims.
“We deposited somewhere near $3,000 to $4,000 in checks and donations that’s been coming in. And I know they’ve been coming in more so.”
Pedro and Keishla who met with the mayor Tuesday say the money as well as a GoFundMe page are helping them start over as they move into another apartment.
“It’s just amazing. I am speechless with the help the community has given us,” said Pedro.
His sister added, “Very grateful for everything that everyone has done for us.”