HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Three people died after a fire destroyed an apartment building in Holyoke, Sunday morning. The fire started in the five-story apartment building on North East Street around 9:00 a.m. and burned out of control.
48-year-old Maria Cartagena died when she jumped from one of the upper floors to escape the flames, recovery crews found the body of 55-year-old Jorge Munoz on Sunday, and a third body was recovered on Monday.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said the city is helping those left homeless; “At this point we’ve identified about ten to fifteen available apartments that are also owned by this building owner.”
Some of the families were being housed in a hotel, and the Kelly School on West Street was turned into a temporary shelter and donation center.
Four Kelly School students all made it out of the burning building, and the schools principal said counseling services will be available for students effected by the fire.
Principal Jackie Glasheen said, “It’s pretty scary, so we as the Holyoke Public Schools are offering extra counseling support to both fire families and other families with kids that saw what was happening, that was traumatic.”
Mayor Morse plans to meet with the American Red Cross and other relief agencies on Tuesday to make a plan to help the families. With classes resuming on Tuesday, the Kelly School will no longer be accepting donations, but the victims of the fire will have access to the donation center inside the school’s gym from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.