Disaster relief center for victims of New Year’s Day fire in Holyoke

22News discovered what's being done to help the families that lost their homes

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The New Year’s Day fire at an apartment building in Holyoke left three people dead and forced 25 families from their homes.

Lt. Chad Cunningham, of the Holyoke Fire Department said, “People were jumping out of windows. One of those individuals tragically lost her life. Another one of those had a severe injury and these things were happening right in front of us.”

The fire had started just before 9 a.m. Sunday engulfing the building on the corner of North East and East Dwight Streets. Three people died, fifty were left without a home.

A couple of days later, firefighters are still sifting through the rubble and debris trying to find the exact cause of this fire. In the meanwhile families that were forced from their homes and lost all of their belongings are uncertain about what the future holds.

“I need home. I want to go home,” said Maria Caban, who lived on one of the top floors.

Wilfredo Lopez, who also lived in the building, said, “I lost a lot of stuff over there. You know it’s hard but you have to go forward.”

A disaster relief center was setup at the War Memorial Building on Appleton Street Tuesday. Various agencies helped make sure families had a place to stay and food to eat.

“Families that need their ID’s need to figure out how to get their insurance, need to figure out how to provide food for their children and so that’s the priority today,” Mayor Alex Morse said.

Clothing and toiletry donations were being accepted at the Kelly School.

The Mayor has raised over $41,000 for a fire relief fund. Click here to go to the GoFundMe webpage.

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