Tag Archives: Bridgeport condominium fire

Bridgeport Fire: What You Need To Know

“06880” reader Sal Gilbertie lives about a mile from the Bridgeport condominium that burned to the ground 4 days ago, leaving 120 people homeless. Last night, he wrote:

I wanted to thank “06880” for your coverage of the New Year’s Eve fire and update you on the amazing work done by people like Elaine Marino, whose efforts are clearly needed, and much valued and appreciated.

I took some pictures today. There is total devastation. The complete loss suffered by residents is illustrated graphically.

Nothing is left of the condominium on Charles Street, Bridgeport. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

Nothing is left of the condominium on Charles Street, Bridgeport. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

The warehouse staging area at 837 Seaview was a beehive of activity today. City workers, firemen and volunteers sorted donations, still arriving by the truckload.

I spoke with both Mayor Joe Ganim and Gina Malheiro, deputy chief administrative officer of Bridgeport. Both were deeply grateful for the assistance offered by the entire Bridgeport area. Both also seemed energized by what is now their 4th day of work on behalf of the displaced residents.

The donation center was a hub of activity. To see what is still needed, read below. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

The donation center was filling up. To see what is still needed, read below. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

After those conversations, and others with city employees I do not know, I can give you the following update:

The displaced residents are all housed — some already in permanent locations, others in hotels until Bridgeport city agencies can place them.

On Monday, the families will be assisted by the city in replacing lost vital documents so they can begin rebuilding their lives. The families will then be brought to 837 Seaview to “shop” amongst the donated items.

Another view, after the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

Another view, after the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Sal Gilbertie)

When asked what is needed most now, the most emphatic answer was “money.”

Those wishing to make donations can act in one of 3 vital ways:

  • Donate to the Red Cross specifically for “Bridgeport Fire.” I was told the monies would go toward offsetting the assistance already given to the families immediately after the fire. As funds accumulate, they will also be distributed to each family displaced by the fire. American Red Cross, 158 Brooklawn Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604; phone: 800-319-9935.
  • Check with the city Facebook page as to very specific needs identified by city officials: https://www.facebook.com/BridgeportCT
  • Some sort of “Adopt a Family” program is being formed, to be coordinated by the city. Anyone interested should contact Bridgeport Social Services directly (click here, or call 203-576-7416).

Thanks, Sal — and thanks too to Elaine Marino, and the many “06880” readers who have stepped up to help.

Bridgeport Fire: Many Hands Reach Out To Help

Elaine Marino has done yeowoman’s work, in the aftermath of the Bridgeport condo fire that displaced 120 residents. Here’s one more report, from late yesterday:

What a day! I was so happy that almost everything on my list was picked, and I could get to Bridgeport by 3 p.m.

On the way home, I stopped at Colony Pizza in Fairfield. As I pulled my car into the lot, a nice woman with 3 teens in her Jeep Wrangler backed right into me. My car has considerable damage to the passenger side, so the police were called.

As we waited in the parking lot, the Jeep caught on fire! Fortunately, the police arrived quickly and put the fire out immediately. The fire department came and inspected the Jeep. Luckily, no one was hurt.  What an ending to a great day!

Here is the scoop: 999 Broad Street in Bridgeport was pure chaos. Piles of items and furniture were left on the sidewalk because the municipal center was completely filled, so the police cordoned off the area.

Mary Ann West was another Westporter who helped. She photographed this scene of donations in Bridgeport...

Mary Ann West was another Westporter who helped. She photographed this scene of donations in Bridgeport…

I was directed to the new donation center at 837 Seaview Avenue, which is a huge warehouse. After donating, I asked if they wanted me to stay to help sort items, but they said no. They told me to stay tuned on Monday by checking the City of Bridgeport Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BridgeportCT.

There will be no donations accepted Sunday, while thousands of items are sorted. If someone expected to have their items picked up in Westport on Sunday, we will not be doing so.

Today (Saturday), 31 families across town that had requested pick-ups of their donations. It was impossible to do this alone. Fortunately, a team of guardian angels helped:

Rob Bolandian and daughters Grace and Hannah (Staples ’17 and ’19), plus Grover Fitch and Monika Lazaro, donated many things, picked up items all over town and made several trips to Bridgeport.

Staples alums Jack Ewert ’13 and Danny Ewert ’15 picked up sofas, tables and other heavy furniture in their truck and made several trips to Bridgeport.

Ed Gerber donated items, picked up items at neighbors’ homes and delivered them to Bridgeport.

Lynn Goldberg and Michelle Titlebaum donated items, picked up items at neighbors’ homes and brought the items to my house.

Kind fellow residents such as Lori Corenthal, Alison Schachter and Karen Sherman dropped off many items off at my house, and many other generous neighbors such as Carolyn Cohen took time to gather many new or gently used donations, which will help make the season brighter for the 54 families who fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs.

If If I missed anyone who dropped off items at my house, please excuse the oversight. It was a long day!

...and this one. (Photos/Mary Ann West)

…and this one. (Photos/Mary Ann West)

If you expected to have your items picked up today but they were not, please know that donations have been suspended until Monday at the earliest. They do not need any more clothing. The current most urgent need is for gift cards to Stop & Shop, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Once BB&B saw 4 sets of Elsa and Anna bedding with pillows, and 4 sets of Star Wars bedding with pillows in my 2 shopping carts, they asked if I was purchasing items for the families affected by the fire. They applied 20% off automatically — no coupons required. Thank you, Jamie et al at BB&B Fairfield!

From what I was told, the most efficient use of donations and volunteers’ time is to shop at these stores with a designated list of what to buy and a (donated) gift card in hand. Please check the City of Bridgeport Facebook page for the appropriate municipal office address to deliver gift cards.

I sincerely appreciate everyone’s kindness, generosity and community spirit. I am so proud of our town.

Bridgeport Fire: Update

Two days after the devastating Bridgeport condominium fire, dozens of Westporters have leaped in to help. “06880” reader Elaine Marino — who has spearheaded Westport’s efforts — provides this update:

What’s needed are not more clothes. Instead, people should purchase things like toiletries, toothbrushes, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, diapers, baby formula, socks, etc. — in bulk if possible.

Sorting everything in the bags is an enormous task. Receiving a case of baby formula or diapers is far easier to distribute. The items can be left at Elaine’s house: 129 Sturges Highway, near the corner of Cross Highway.

If items were expected to be picked up today, email esmarino@msn.com. She will confirm pickup tomorrow (Sunday).

“06880” reader Mary Ann West adds:

The response to the victims of the huge Bridgeport fire has been amazing. I was at Town Hall today with members of the Red Cross Disaster Response Team. It was heartwarming to see families with children taking time to donate food, gift cards, clothing, toys and household items.

Almost all the people are in temporary housing, either staying with family, friends or alternative situations, just starting the process of beginning from scratch. Yesterday and today they were picking up items for their immediate short-term needs. Once they get settled in they will be starting from zero. This will be a longer-term effort to help the 120 people who lost everything, including their cars.

Westport Town Hall - Bridgeport relief

The scene in Town Hall, earlier. today. (Photo/Mary Ann West)


Bridgeport Fire: You Can Still Help

Elaine Marino had a busy New Year’s Day.

After “06880” reported on her efforts to aid the 120 victims of a Bridgeport fire, she was flooded with offers to help. She scurried around Westport, picking up donations of clothes, food and toys, then headed a few miles away to deliver them.

City Council president Tom McCarthy helped her unload her jam-packed car. He said they’d been overwhelmed with clothing donations.

But there’s a lot the 50-plus families still need, including:

  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Bedding (twin, full or queen)
  • Towels
  • Utensils
  • Small appliances
  • Other items you’d need if you were starting your home over from scratch
  • Toys for the kids who lost all their  Christmas gifts
  • Cat and dog food and items
  • Gift cards to Stop & Shop, and Target.
The aftermath of the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Brian Pounds, AP)

The aftermath of the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Brian Pounds, AP)

Elaine returned home, then went off to Bed, Bath & Beyond, with 10 of those 20% off coupons.

If you’d like her to pick up items from your home tomorrow for delivery, email esmarino@msn.com.

There are other ways to help. For example, several GoFundMe pages have been set up for victims. Click here, then scroll down.

For donation drop-off information, call the Bridgeport Emergency Operations Center (203-579-3829), or the mayor’s office (Gina Malheiro or John Gomes, (203-727-4045).

Monetary donations can be send to: Red Cross, 158 Brooklawn Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604. The phone number is 800-319-9935.

UPDATE: Westporter Helps Bridgeport Fire Victims

A fast-moving fire yesterday morning left 120 Bridgeport condo residents homeless. The Connecticut Post calls it one of the worst temporary housing crises in state history.

More than homes were destroyed. Residents lost all their clothes and other possessions. Children lost their Christmas gifts.

Elaine Marino wants to help.

The Westport resident heads to Bridgeport later today with food and clothing. She hopes to pick up some toys along the way.

But she wants to do more.

She’s asking Westporters to place a bag of toys, clothes and/or food on their porch or front steps. Then mail your address to esmarino@msn.com. She’ll pick up your items, and deliver them to Bridgeport.

UPDATE: Elaine’s car is full today (Friday), so people should pull inside anything she has not yet picked up. She will be doing this again in Saturday morning. Please get back in touch with her by email (esmarino@msn.com).

It’s a tough  way to start 2016 for several dozen families. But it’s a good way for us — just a few miles a way — to help.

The Charles Street condominium in Bridgeport is very near the New Colony diner.

The Charles Street condominium in Bridgeport is very near the Old Colony diner.