The city, local businesses, various charity organizations, and residents have launched several relief efforts to assist the west side-area residents who were displaced Easter Sunday after a six-alarm fire destroyed an entire block of homes.
Meanwhile, this weekend city engineers began demolishing several of the damaged homes.
A number of local businesses have already contributed gift cards to the relief effort, which city officials said were to be distributed to fire victims last week.
The city is currently asking that donations be made in the form of gift cards to local grocery, clothing, or home goods stores.
“If anyone has gently used furniture or electronics that are in good working order they can call the Mayor’s Action Bureau to see if it can be donated. The mayor’s action bureau will contact the families to see if any of them can use the items,” said city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill. “But gift cards are best at this point in time.”
Fifty-two residents were left homeless after the early morning Easter Sunday fire tore through a block of row houses on Claremont Avenue.
The City Hall-sponsored clothing drive that was set up last week has ended.
On April 13, the city distributed approximately $14,000 worth of gift cards that were donated by several area businesses and non-profit organizations. Provident Bank donated $2,100 in gift cards. The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s foundation also donated $2,100 in gift cards to ShopRite. Inserra Supermarkets Inc., which owns ShopRite, donated another $5,000 in gift cards. And Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy’s foundation gave away $5,250 in gift cards.
These cards were evenly distributed among the fire victims.
Mayor Healy and Armando Roman, director of fire and emergency services with the Jersey City Fire Department (JCFP), will also co-host a benefit party this Thurs., April 19 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 60 West Side Ave. Admission to the party is $25. Residents are asked to make checks payable to “JC Fire Foundation’s Victims Fund” and write in the note line: For the Victims of the Claremont Avenue Fire. Donations are tax deductible. For more information about this fundraiser, Roman’s office can be reached at (201) 547-4239.
On the evening of April 11, downtown bar and restaurant LITM donated a portion of its bar tab proceeds to the fire relief effort. Morrill said she believes other restaurants are planning similar fundraisers, although she knew of no specific events coming up this week.
City Councilwoman-at-large Viola Richardson’s office also has a list of vacant rental apartments that fire victims can use to look for new housing. Richardson’s office at City Hall can be reached at (201) 547-5108.
Dozens left homeless
Fifty-two residents were left homeless after the early morning Easter Sunday fire tore through a block of row houses on Claremont Avenue. As of late last week the cause of the fire was still under investigation.
The fire, one of the biggest in Jersey City in recent memory, broke out early Sunday morning at around 4:20 a.m. at 349 Claremont Ave. The six-alarm fire quickly spread through 10 buildings and destroyed the homes of at least 52 residents before firefighters got it under control.
Five members of the Jersey City Fire Department were treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries. None of the injuries was life-threatening.
About 26 fire victims “sought shelter from the American Red Cross,” according to Armando Roman, director of fire and emergency services. “The balance of the residents were relocated to the homes of family and friends in the area.”
Witnesses who were sleeping in the lower level of 349 Claremont Ave. when the blaze started told fire fighters at the scene that the cause of the fire may have been electrical. Whether the fire was indeed caused by old or faulty electrical wiring has not been determined, however, Roman said.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.