ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After a fire ripped through two homes along Hudson Avenue in Albany Sunday, all that remains is charred rubble. According to the university, 11 students were displaced, including roommates Gavin Demilio and David Salvadori. Both were not at home when the fire started.

“I think God works in mysterious ways so it was probably a blessing that I wasn’t there and that all my friends got out safe. So we’re just looking to kind of start fresh,” says Demilio, a junior.

“I got there right before they tore everything down. So you know, it was upsetting at first but since everybody was out safe, I think that was what was most important,” explains Salvadori who is graduating this weekend, “and, the support from the community has been amazing too. It’s made everything so much easier for all of us and the neighbors as well too.” 

Salvadori and Demilio, along with some of their roommates, play for the University at Albany’s men’s rugby team, which is a club sport. They say the support from the team, the school and others, including Hofstra University’s women’s rugby team, which donated clothes and school supplies, have made “all the difference this week.”

A GoFundMe was set up shortly after the fire by a friend of the team. So far it has raised over $23,476 as of Thursday evening.

“What the community has done is really heart warming. I came up here three years ago, not knowing anybody and now it’s like I know everybody, “Demilio says, “everybody sees me and they go, ‘oh I’m so sorry for what happened’.  But, the community outreach has been great. Just as much as us, our neighbors at 487 (Hudson Avenue) those girls and those guys lost everything as well so.” 

According to the University at Albany, the school “has been in contact with them (the students affected) since Sunday to offer housing, academic accommodations (the fire occurred during finals) and access to other support services, including our Student Emergency Fund, which offers grants to students who experience sudden financial emergencies. That’s standard operating procedure by our Dean of Students Office whenever something like this happens.”

According to Albany Fire Chief Joseph Gregory, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.