Apartment residents displaced after fatal fire working to rebuildWritten by Bailey G. Dick | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents of a North Toledo apartment building were forced to leave everything behind when a fire broke out that damaged their homes and killed two Toledo firefighters, James Dickman and Stephen Machcinski.
Now, the people who lived in the six-unit apartment building at 528 Magnolia St. are slowly trying to rebuild their lives.
According to Amanda Aldrich, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, the organization assisted a total of seven adults and two children who were affected by the fire. Some were helped immediately after the fire broke out, while others came to them in the days following the event.
The residents were given food, clothing and three days of shelter, as well as a referral for a security deposit. That referral informs a potential landlord that the individual has experienced a disaster, and that the Red Cross will pay the security deposit on a new home for them, Aldrich said. She also noted that the displaced people will receive long-term assistance as well, like bed linens and furniture to help them get settled at their new homes.
She also said that the needs of people vary with every disaster.
“Just like people are different, every situation and disaster is different. Some people have family in town, or someone that can provide them with a bed to sleep in. Some people don’t have that at all. Some have renters insurance, but if people don’t have that, you have to start from scratch,” Aldrich said.
She said the Red Cross connects those affected by disasters like this one with organizations like Goodwill, the Seagate Foodbank and the LifeBridge Center with Cherry Street Mission Ministries. Another important connection is with the Department of Job and Family Services, for those who need to replace a lost card to access SNAP benefits and purchase food for their families.
“The real take-home message here is that we want everyone to be resilient. I think it reminds us to be prepared for a disaster, and have a disaster kit ready to go that has essential things in it. Think of things you’d need if you were going on vacation,” Aldrich said.
“It’s important to have things that say who you are, and you need copies, so you’re able to receive things like public benefits. In addition to things like food, water and flashlights, having copies of those things and contact information for someone who you can call and tell you’re safe is important too.”
According to Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld of the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department, the former residents may not be able to retrieve personal belongings from their apartments anytime soon, as they are being secured by Toledo Police as part of an investigation into the fire by the defense team of the building’s owner.
Building owner Ray Abou-Arab was arrested Jan. 31. He has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated arson and aggravated murder.
Tags: Amanda Aldrich, American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, Department of Job and Family Services, firefighters James Dickman and Stephen Machcinski, Goodwill, LifeBridge Center with Cherry Street Mission Ministries, Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld of the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department, Red Cros, Seagate Foodbank, SNAP benefits