Local residents left homeless after fire

By COLLEEN PEGHER
Editor in Chief
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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 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 added.
The cause of the fire is not yet known. Hedrick said the cause remains under investigation.
While there were no fatalities in the fire, the building and its 10 apartments have been destroyed, and with it all of the material possessions of those who called the building their home. The building was demolished on Thursday afternoon.
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 Professor of Political Science Jolie Wood has offered to collect items in her office during the day on Sunday, Feb. 2, to be taken 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 with two of the women 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.
“Denise and Alivia are both really hardworking girls,” said Schricker. “Alivia’s entire livelihood is helping other people. She’s a nurse at Meadville Medical, and Denise works several jobs to support her family. She’s become a real staple with the customers at the Penny Bar because she works all the time, and she’s so totally devoted to raising her daughter. Nobody deserves to lose everything like that.”
Circle K will also be hosting a clothing drive and are taking monetary donations, as well as toiletries. They are tabling in the campus center lobby beginning Friday, Jan. 31 and will be there next Tuesday through Friday (Feb. 2 to Feb. 7) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

ran Janaszek (left)  from Kebort Construction talks with a coworker as rubble from the demolished apartment complex is moved to a dumpster on Jan. 30, 2014. The blaze left at least nine families without a home. The demolition began at approximately 10 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m.  Spectators gathered throughout the process, many taking photos and videos. CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
ran Janaszek (left) from Kebort Construction talks with a coworker as rubble from the demolished apartment complex is moved to a dumpster on Jan. 30, 2014. The blaze left at least nine families without a home. The demolition began at approximately 10 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m. Spectators gathered throughout the process, many taking photos and videos. CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
Workers take a final look at the burnt building before tearing it down on Jan. 30, 2014. CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
Workers take a final look at the burnt building before tearing it down on Jan. 30, 2014. CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
After the fire, caution tape was still posted around the property of  the aparment complex on Jan. 30, 2014.  Surrounding trees and pavement were  covered in ice from the water used to fight the fire. CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
After the fire, caution tape was still posted around the property of the aparment complex on Jan. 30, 2014. Surrounding trees and pavement were covered in ice from the water used to fight the fire. CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS
CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS