Community rallies around Watervliet fire victims

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WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A massive fire earlier this week in Watervliet displaced Around 20 residents. NEWS10’s Anya Tucker found the community is making sure the victims of the fire will get some help to replace some of what they have lost.

When the fire happened on Monday around 2 p.m. the residents who lived in the apartments at 24th Street and Broadway ran out with mostly the clothes on their backs. They lost just about everything.

But the community is now rallying around them to help them recover from this loss.

“I think the biggest thing that they need is housing. They need a place to live. The Red Cross has given them shelter for a few days and that is going to run out,” said Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli8.

He says securing housing is proving difficult for the fire victims who lost all their belongings.

“I was talking to one lady. One of her biggest problems is she has no identification. Everything was all burned up in the house. She has absolutely nothing to say who she is.”

To help out, city officials have set up a fund through Pioneer Bank. Patricelli says they’ve already raised about 2,000 dollars for the fire victims. The Arsenal City Tavern has a fundraiser scheduled Friday night to add to the collection.

The Watervliet Charitable Foundation is also raising funds for the fire victims.

There were four children who were also displaced by the fire. Watervliet City School District Superintendent, Dr. Lori Caplan says they’re accepting donations of clothing and personal items for these four students who range in grades from kindergarten to high school.

“As this city and community always does. We rallied together. We set up at both schools collection for clothing, money, donations, gift cards,” said Caplan.

Frank Kasper owns and once lived in the middle apartment building, one of the three destroyed by a massive Fire on Monday.

Police say it was a tenant who accidentally caused the fire while discarding a lit cigarette.

He is now living with a relative and sleeping on a couch, but he says he is grateful for the response and all the support from the people in his community.

“It’s been wonderful. I am so thankful. Thank you all for the help you’ve given us.”

More information on donations.

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