How to Help Victims of the Bronx Fire

The fire is the deadliest one to affect NYC since the 1990s.

by Claire Nunez

As Fordham students, the Bronx is our home.  We spend time in the community working, playing, and studying.  When I heard about the destructive fire on Prospect Avenue on December 29th, my heart shattered. People in our community have been hurt, lost their lives, or have been forced from their homes. The biggest question now is: how can us Fordham students help?

The fire, which started due to a child playing with a stove, is now considered the deadliest one to affect people in New York City since a nightclub fire in 1990. Twelve people, including four children, were killed in the flames, and many more were displaced into the cold.  The building itself was not up to code and had six open violations– fire detectors were not operational, the building was not built with fire-safe materials, amongst other infractions.

Now with many of our Bronx community members displaced and without a home this winter, it is time for us to lend a helping hand in the Belmont neighborhood.  Here’s how you can help:

Donate.

So many groups are working with our fellow Bronxites in need.  The Dorothy Day Center is currently collecting gently used clothing items for victims of the fire in the McGinley Center.  Councilman Ritchie Torres will be collecting all kinds of toiletries, diapers, canned goods, and hygiene products at his office (at 573 E. Fordham Road) on December 30th.  And a collection of coats and clothing will be taking place at Church of St. Martin of Tours (at 2239 Crotona Avenue) from December 30th to the 31st. Community Board 6 will also begin taking donations beginning on January 2nd  at 1932 Arthur Avenue in room 403.

If you don’t have any physical items to donate, you can give monetary donations to the Bronx Parent Housing Network through this PayPal link.  I know that we are students, but just remember, any amount helps.

Call the Red Cross.

The Red Cross is providing assistance to those who have been affected by the fire.  If you or someone you know requires help, please call the Red Cross at 877 RED CROSS.  The Red Cross will be providing aid to those affected.  A reception center has been set up at Crotona International Academy (2474 Crotona Avenue).

Educate.

Thousands of children start fires every year, but many adults contribute to the damage that flames cause.  Be sure to educate yourself and those around you about fire safety.  Make sure to extinguish candles, keep flammables away from children, and refresh yourself on fire safety protocols.  Check out what the FDNY has to say about fire safety here.

Also be sure to check your own fire detectors.  Make sure the batteries work and that the detector itself is not expired.  Do this for your safety and for those around you as well.

The Belmont community provides us Fordham students with so much.  It is the least we can do is give back to those around us.

 

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