The Ladies Auxiliary of Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co., has for years been called upon to offer aid to the members of its host company during emergencies. This week the group has stepped forward to help others affected by a fire.
The women have begun collecting items for the families who were displaced following a major fire in Shelton during the overnight of January 5–6. They are hoping that by offering a central donation point, Newtown residents will be able to offer aid to others as well.
Five people were injured, and between 25–30 people were left without a home, after a fire at 446 Howe Avenue in Shelton this week. The fire destroyed the building, which housed a restaurant and florist on its first floor, and apartments in its upper floors. All of the building’s occupants were able to get out on their own or were rescued by firefighters before the four-story mixed use building collapsed early Monday morning.
Temporary housing has been set up for those who lived in the building, according to SHVF&R Ladies Auxiliary member Sharon Doherty, “but there are several [people] who have lost everything.”
Echo Hose Hook & Ladder No 1, which serves Shelton, was offering temporary housing to those who lost their homes this week. The firehouse at 379 Coram Avenue is also serving as a collection point for those who wanted to donate anything for the victims.
Mrs Doherty and Laurie Comerford, the president of SHVF&R Ladies Auxiliary, are asking Newtown residents to consider making donations as well.
“Some of them only have the shirts on their backs to stay warm,” said Mrs Doherty. “The world stepped up to help Newtown last year. This is our chance to pay it forward.”
Nonperishable items, all types of clothing, blankets and other housewares, can be dropped at the Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue main station, 18-20 Riverside Road.
A firefighter is generally at the station between 9 am and 3 pm Monday through Friday. Members are often around as well after 3 pm and on weekends by chance. The ladies auxiliary is asking that donors do not leave items at the firehouse unattended.
The women plan to make their first run to Shelton this week.
Gift cards will also be accepted, and also delivered to Echo Hose for the victims.
“Gift cards would be great for groceries, furniture, housewares, anything,” said Mrs Doherty. “These people need help with everything.”
Anyone who would like to make a monetary or gift card donation can contact Mrs Doherty at 203-948-1688.
Those who would like to donate furniture and other large items are asked to contact Echo Host Firefighter Kevin Lantowski at 203-924-4200.
Echo Hose has been updating its Facebook page and website with notes about its collection. On January 7, firefighters were seeking volunteers to help sort the donations that were already being received.
“If someone wants to go right to Shelton to help, or wants to see if there is a specific request before they make a donation, that would be a good place to look,” said Mrs Doherty.
Ms Comerford and Mrs Doherty would like to have all donations from Newtown residents at the Sandy Hook firehouse by noon Wednesday, January 15. They will make a second delivery to Shelton at that time.