How you can help dozens displaced by NJ fires just before Thanksgiving
TRENTON — Neighborhoods in two New Jersey communities are cleaning up and recovering from wind-driven fires as investigators zero in on possible causes.
Three of 9 homes damaged by fire on Weinberg Place in Trenton collapsed, displacing 29 people from their homes and injuring two. Trenton fire marshal Capt. Michael Fitzpatrick told NJ.com one of the injured is a vagrant residents saw on the porch of an abandoned home where the fire started in the front section. The man is currently hospitalized and unable to speak according to the report, which said he was found by firefighters in an alley.
The Amber Bakery and Market on Brunswick and Olden Avenues is collecting donations to assist residents. The American Red Cross's New Jersey chapter has provided emergency assistance for temporary lodging, food and clothing for nine families.
"With the cold weather we were looking at a potential shelter issue" before the power and utilities were turned back on Monday night, according to Red Cross New Jersey spokeswoman Diane Concannon said.
The Red Cross will continue to be available to families that need assistance, according to Concann.
"Hopefully we will be able to provide them with those steps towards recovery. We have our folks available for reference to other agencies and organizations that could potentially help them with some of their long term needs," she said.
Seven people were injured, four critically, in a fire that swept through three homes, including one that collapsed, on Mehorter Boulevard in Woodbury. As in Trenton, downed wires were also a factor in fighting the fire.
Woodbury Fire Chief Randall Gartner told the Courier Post it took too long for PSE&G to shut off the power.
Spokeswoman Brooke Houston in a statement said "we safely responded to the incident within an hour, which is our target, and will be meeting with the Woodbury Fire Department to discuss our response and their expectations."
Three of the injured were treated and released from a hospital, while four were in critical condition.One person reportedly jumped from one of the homes.
Concannon said the state chapter has helped 103 people and 35 families in fires across New Jersey since Friday thanks to the efforts of their volunteers.
"These are the volunteers that will take the call from dispatch after we receive it from the fire company that there is a family in need. They will respond at 2 o'clock in the morning to go to a fire scene to help them and make sire they have a place to stay, clothing and food. Whatever their needs are at that moment they will provide on the spot to help families with those needs," Concannon said.
She said donations to help the Red Cross can be made at redcross.org.
The Facebook group Mehorter Boulevard Fire Drive is also collecting gift cards and gently used clothing for residents affected by the fire.
Investigations into both fires continue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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