WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP/THE WESTFIELD NEWS) – Three refugee families are homeless after a multi-family home on Mechanic Street in Westfield caught fire early Friday morning. The families lost everything except for the clothes on their backs.
The 3 refugee families, 2 from Syria and 1 from Iraq, are forced to start over for a third time, after the fire destroyed their home at 67 Mechanic Street in Westfield. The fire started around 5:15 a.m. Friday.
According to Westfield Fire Chief Mary Regan, there were working smoke detectors that alerted the residents. She said, “We’re very happy that the smoke detectors activated. No question this could have been a much worse outcome.”
Chief Regan said when firefighters first arrived on scene there was “a lot of fire” coming from the structure. She said that fire personnel first searched the residence to see if anyone was inside, then did an “initial attack” of the fire.
Mohammed Najeeb, a resettlement manager with Ascentria Care Alliance, told 22News the agency resettled the families in 2014 and 2015 to Westfield.
Najeeb said the families lost all their belongings in the fire, including their vehicle; “It’s very frustrating for them, because simply they just became self-sufficient. It’s sad to see the mothers and the children crying, saying they will have to start all over again.”
Of the 15 people left homeless, 9 are children; 3 infants were all home at the time of the fire. No one was hurt, but all 3 families were taken to the hospital as a precaution. They’re all expected to be okay.
Najeeb said 2 of those families are staying in a nearby motel, and the 3rd family is staying with family Friday night. The resettlement agency said they’ve already started looking into finding permanent housing for all 3 families.
The Westfield Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, but it is not considered to be suspicious, Westfield Fire Deputy Chief Eric Bishop said.