Apartment Fire Displaces at Least 50 Residents: How to Help

Cynthia Whitty
Issue Date: 
April, 2018
Article Body: 

A three-alarm fire at Ashland’s Chestnut Apartments displaced at least 50 residents and their pets on the night of March 4. Officials said the fire started in the kitchen of a second floor unit. The cause is under investigation at the time of this writing.
Michael Herbert, the town manager, reported that 35 families are homeless. Assistant Town Manger Jenn Ball, [email protected], and the town’s Human Services Department Director Jennifer Wuelfing, [email protected], are serving as contacts for the residents and town departments and resources.
The Ashland Emergency Fund (AEF) and the Warren Conference Center and Inn have worked collaboratively to provide temporary housing for residents in need. Support has come from the Ashland Emergency Fund, the Ashland Food Pantry, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, Framingham Housing Authority, the Family Resource Center, the YMCA, Neighborhood Brigade, Red Cross and the Department of Transitional Assistance.
“The damage to the building was pretty severe,” Wuelfing said, “So moving forward, the issue will be getting the displaced residents into a more permanent housing solution they may need to utilize for a few months.”
Many town residents have asked how they can help. Wuelfing has identified some needs:
Gift cards, such as gas cards, grocery stores, pet supplies, pizza/restaurants, Visa
Clothing: adult and children’s clothing, all sizes
Pet supplies: dog/cat food, cat litter
Toiletries: toothbrushes/toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, feminine hygiene items, brushes, soap
Laundry liquid for people having to go to laundry mat
Ready-to-eat food-soups, snacks
Items can be donated to the Ashland Food Pantry in the Ashland Community Center, 162 West Union St. (Rt. 135). Hours for donations are Monday, Tuesday, 8 am-2:30 pm, and Wednesday, Thursday, 8 am-2 pm. Additional donation sites are Shaw’s, the Ashland post office, town hall, fire department and police department.
Monetary donations can be made to the AEF, P.O. Box 112, Ashland, MA 01721.
“One hundred percent of funds received are distributed to those in need,” Wuelfing said.