As many as 18 victims from Saturday night's fire will stay the night at the Don Bosco Center, where authorities have set up an emergency shelter.
Neighbors, friends, community organizations and local businesses have all pitched in to help after 25 people were displaced in a fire at 206 Irving Ave. On Saturday night, the Red Cross and Port Chester police set up an emergency center at Don Bosco with cots, blankets and food, said Carolyn Sherwin, a spokeswoman with the Red Cross of Westchester County.
"We're all working together to make things easier for these displaced clients," Sherwin said.
Several fire victims stayed overnight Saturday, and more were expected Sunday as the Red Cross helps them find more permanent arrangements. Among them were an elderly couple and "a two-year-old who stayed overnight and is getting totally spoiled," Sherwin joked.
The fire started in an auto supplies store on the first floor of 206 Irving Ave., then spread to a pair of apartments upstairs, said Chief Kevin McFadden of the Port Chester Fire Department. The source of the fire was a boiler on the first floor, which ignited nearby pieces of wood, according to Westchester County fire investigators.
No one was injured in the blaze, and despite heavy smoke and water damage, firefighters were able to save the structure by quickly knocking the main body of fire down. On Saturday night, the soggy interior of APZ Auto Supplies could be seen through the metal-gated and glass windows of the shop.
On Sunday, the victims received a bit of good news – inspectors had deemed the building structurally safe, and the displaced families were allowed back inside to retrieve clothes and valuables, Sherwin said. Local non-profits have offered to help, and people in the community have come forward to help the victims quickly find new apartments.
Among those who have pitched in to help are local businesses like P&D Pizzeria of Westchester Avenue, which delivered free catered food to the fire victims.
Among the volunteers who work with the Red Cross are local mental health professionals; they were on hand to offer counseling to the people at the shelter and help them deal with the stress of losing their homes.
"We've been really lucky because of the church and the community organizations there's been a huge outreach within the Port Chester community," Sherwin said.
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