Firefighters are being praised for a great rescue and firefighting operation last Wednesday morning, Dec. 2, at 68 West Newton St. in the South End, but this week finds five families that lived in the four-story brick building displaced and in need of help.
The two-alarm fire came in at 8:05 a.m. on Dec. 2 and was showing flames from the first floor on arrival. Firefighters knocked down the fire quickly, but also saved a woman and two children (including a baby) from the top floors. Several pets were rescued and eight people were displaced during the fire. No injuries, incredibly, were reported, but damage was heavy.
The fire is still under investigation.
IBA CEO Vanessa Calderon Rosado said the building was one of several the affordable housing provider acquired from the Boston Housing Authority over the last few years. Several of the nearby buildings had been, or were under, repairs as part of that acquisition, but 68 West Newton had not yet been repaired.
More importantly, five families are now displaced.
She said everyone was re-housed that same day in available units at the Villa or in hotels nearby, but they are looking for something more permanent.
“First, we are so grateful to the first responders and that there were no injuries,” she said. “We continue to work with the families to get them placed more permanently, but everyone got housed that very day. Now it’s getting them settled and getting them what they need.”
Calderon Rosado said she was very pleased with her team and Maloney Properties for rushing to take care of those displaced, taking them into an open space on San Juan Street where they could settle for the moment.
“Our team at IBA and Maloney Properties worked really fast to support the families within the chaos of that morning,” she said.
The family who was saved by firefighters, Alicia Soto, had a well-publicized GoFundMe page that reached its $10,000 goal very quickly. There potentially was another, but the other families didn’t get that support.
Calderon Rosado said she is asking anyone who wants to donate to them to do so through IBA, whether online or at their offices. “What we’re telling people is to go to the Go Fund Me pages or if they’re not open, people can send a contribution to IBA to support the 68 West Newton Families,” she said. “Some of the needs are food, clothing and housewares, including linens and kitchenware. We’re helping the families get that stuff. There are still needs for all five families.”