BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Last weekend on Buffalo's West Side, a massive fire displaced more than 80 people living at the Lafayette-Barton Apartments.
Fortunately, everyone was able to make it out alive, however, most no longer have a place to call home and are staying with friends and family for now.
On Saturday, the City of Good Neighbors came out with a way to help dozens of families who lost everything: a fundraiser hosted by the non-profit H.E.A.L International.
Donations poured into the Jericho Road Community Health Center on Barton Street during the event, which was co-sponsored by Mayor Byron Brown and Council Member David Rivera. Donations ranged from clothes to kitchen utensils and toys for kids.
All of the displaced residents who attended the event were able to take whatever they needed from piles of donations.
Residents also took turns sharing what they went through during the fire, all thanked the firefighters for keeping everyone safe.
"I believe one of our residents was 90 years old," said former resident Roberto Roman. "She made it out without an injury. Nothing went wrong. I mean these guys...I mean they know what they're doing. I have the highest respect for them."
Many people are staying with friends and family after the fire, but the work will be ongoing to find new, permanent homes. Common Council member David Rivera said some places with vacancies have offered apartments to the affected people, but more will need to be done to find everyone homes. At least one infant is among the displaced tenants.
As for the burned building itself, Glendale Development LLC tells Channel 2 engineers are still assessing the structural integrity. The building's landlord says whether Glendale rehabs the building or demolishes it and starts from scratch, new apartments will eventually be there.
Glendale Development president Matt Cherry is returning security deposits as well as a prorated check for the month of March to all residents, according to the building's landlord.
From Wednesday through Friday of next week, from 10-3 each day, residents will be allowed one major chance to go in the building & remove any salvaged belongings.
- H.E.A.L is no longer taking physical donations, but they are still accepting monetary donations, which the organization says is all going to a bank to distribute equal checks.
- You can call H.E.A.L. at (716) 908-1756 or e-mail Douglas@k2architecture.com with questions or for more information.
- Checks should be made to H.E.A.L. International, and write Lafayette apartment donation in the memo.
- You can also donate online through GoFundMe. (https://www.gofundme.com/fire-disaster-on-lafayette-apt)