Students reach out to local fire victims

By Colleen Pegher

Students and faculty at Allegheny are coming together to provide aid and support for local victims of a fire that erupted on Tuesday evening at an apartment building located at 309 Chestnut St.

The Meadville Fire Department was dispatched at 6:00 p.m. and crews returned to the station at 12:56 a.m., according to Meadville Fire Chief Tunie Hedrick.

“We also sent crews out twice in the early hours of the morning to handle rekindles,” Hedrick said.

The cause of the fire is not yet known and remains under investigation, according to Hedrick.

While there were no fatalities in the fire, the building and its 10 apartments have been destroyed with it all of the material possessions of those who called the building their home.

The Center for Family Services has asked for donations of bedding, cookware, dinnerware, bath and personal care items, along with other miscellaneous items such as diapers, wipes and cleaning products.

Maria Firkalay of The Center for Family Services emphasized the need for donations, as the Center has no budget to purchase the items needed by the families. The fire has caused an even greater need for donations.

“We try to provide these sorts of services all year long,” Firkaly said. “We can only help so many families at one time. It is kind of overwhelming. These families have absolutely nothing.”

Visiting assistant professor of political science Jolie Wood has offered to collect items in her office during the day on Sunday. She will take them to the Center for Family Services on Monday. She asks that students donate items that are in good condition.

“People should use their good judgment. If you wouldn’t use it yourself, don’t bother donating it,” Wood said in an email. “Everything should be clean, obviously.”

The Penny Bar will also be collecting items for two of their employees who lost everything in the fire. Lauren Schricker, ’14, who works at the Penny Bar, asked that students donate women’s clothing from sizes 0-2 and 9-10, along with shoes that are a size 7 ½, along with medium and small or extra small shirts. As one of the women has a baby, they are asking for infant’s clothing sized 6-9 months be donated as well.