Port Jervis Community Helping Tenants Rebuild After Fire

October 12, 2016 Updated: October 12, 2016

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are helping about a dozen people who were displaced after their apartments on Pike Street were destroyed in an Oct. 11 fire.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 5:11 a.m. for a fire that started at 186 Pike St. and spread north to 188-192 Pike St., said Deputy Port Jervis Fire Chief James Rohner. No one was reported injured in the blaze.

The apartments on the second and third floors of 186 Pike St. were occupied, as was the commercial space on the bottom by Flora Laura, a florist and antiques shop.

Next door, 188-192 Pike St. was vacant with neither running gas nor electricity, said Mayor Kelly Decker in a phone interview. He said the building was owned by MT Bank and was in foreclosure at the time of the fire.

As of Oct. 11, Flora Laura owner Laura Meyer planned to rebuild her business, Decker said. She was in the process of buying a new building when the fire happened.

Both of the buildings had to be demolished.

While county investigators search for the cause of the fire, the community is focused on getting the tenants of the building shelter and other necessities.

The Red Cross is reportedly helping with housing and the Salvation Army is taking donations of household goods like dishes and silver wear.

Capt. Kelly Ross of the Port Jervis Salvation Army said they are also getting donations of gift cards, which they are distributing to the displaced tenants to buy things like toiletries that they cannot get second hand.

For those who have inquired about donating furniture, she said she is taking their contact info and will get in touch with them once the tenants have found permanent housing.

So far only one family has asked for assistance with their first month’s rent, she said, which the Salvation Army has agreed to pay half of.

The Tri-State Interfaith Council is working with the Salvation Army to get donations of food, money, and furniture for the displaced tenants, some of which are young children.

Salvation Army on Ball Street is taking the donations and can be reached at 845-856-3214.

Both Ross and Decker expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support, both for the firefighters and the victims of the fire.

“Its devastating for the city to lose two large buildings, but more devastating is the loss of business, Flora Laura, who hopefully will rebuild, and the displacement of the tenants,” Decker said.

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