Three fires in 36 hours
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua resident and firefighter Joe Zaprazny works with other volunteers to help fold clothes at the Tamaqua Laundromat. He, along with other members of the Tamaqua Volunteers group, volunteered their time washing, drying and folding fire victims' clothes over the past few days. Zaprazny and his fire company, Tamaqua's East End Fire Company, helped battle all three fires.
Seven families, consisting of 14 adults and eight children, are still displaced after three multi-dwelling fires struck three area communities in less than 36 hours this week.
Two Brockton families were displaced Monday evening following a row home fire that damaged at least four homes. The home at 221 Valley St., which received the most damage, was occupied by a mother and her 3-year-old boy. A home at 219 Valley St., where three adults lived, sustained moderate damage.
Tuesday afternoon, firefighters were called to battle a fire at duplex home in Coaldale. The fire, which started at 118 W. High Street, left two adults and their 9-year-old boy displaced.
Around 5 a.m. Wednesday, less than 36 hours after the first fire, firefighters were called to battle a row home fire on Coal Street in Tamaqua. That fire damaged at least nine row homes; four of which receiving the most damage, and left eight adults and five children without a permanent place to live.
The Tamaqua Salvation Army, Schuylkill County Red Cross, Tamaqua Volunteers group and other county programs have offered temporary assistance to the families.
Sadly, there is no long-term housing or financial assistance available to those without insurance.
The Tamaqua Volunteers group has created three one-month funds to help those affected by the Brockton, Coaldale and Tamaqua fires. Volunteers are asking anyone to stop by any Wells Fargo Bank in the United States and ask to donate to any or all of these funds, no matter how small. The funds are titled:
• "Sept. 16 Row Home Fire in Brockton"
• "Sept. 17 House Fire in Coaldale"
• "Sept. 18 Row Home Fire in Tamaqua"
In addition, Tamaqua resident Amanda Woodring is organizing a clothing and donation drive this Saturday at the Tamaqua Elks Lodge (201 W. Broad St., Tamaqua) from 8 a.m. to noon.
She is encouraging everyone to drop off anything that might be usable by any of the fire victims, such as clothing, toys, tools, appliances, tools, etc. Woodring and the group will be in contact with the fire victims concerning what is donated.
Anything left over or not needed, will be given away during the group's Community Giveaway on Sept. 28 at 9:15 a.m.
For more information on how to help the families, call the Tamaqua Volunteers group at (570) 668-1234.