Article and Photo by Terry Duffy
Niagara County fire officials are continuing their investigations into a structure fire on Tuesday evening that caused extensive damage to an apartment complex at 310 Main St., in the Village of Youngstown.
According to Greg Robertson Sr. of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co., the first alarm was sounded at approximately 8:30 p.m. at the two-story apartment complex located across the street from the Youngstown riverfront gazebo at Falkner Park. Robertson said fire responders encountered challenging conditions in the blaze that had spread through an apartment and travelled into the attic of the complex.
“There were some tough spots in the attic that opened up,” he said.
Robertson explained fire responders from the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Co., Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1 and the Niagara Falls Air Base teams assisted the Youngstown crews at the blaze and remained on the scene until after 1 a.m. Fire responders had to return later on Wednesday morning as portions of the complex reignited in spots and needed to be extinguished.
Four families – three with children – were forced to flee the blaze and became displaced, Robertson said. There were no injuries. Red Cross responders were assisting the families.
The fire remains under investigation.
“Niagara County Origin and Cause is investigating,” Robertson said.
Meanwhile, family members are assisting those affected in the fire.
“Those pink curtains is my granddaughter’s bedroom,” resident Amy Peters commented on Facebook. “It literally makes me sick to see it. Luckily everybody got out.”
Chris Salada, former chief of police for the Youngstown and Lewiston police departments, said members of his family are among those displaced.
“That fire last night was my son, daughter-in-law and three grandkids,” he said. “They lost everything, including a few pets. All are living with us now.”
Salada said his daughter, Mari, opened a GoFundMe account, “Help the Nablo Family recover from a tragic fire.”
“Hello, my brother Kyle and his family lost his home and all belongings on 03/02/21 to a tragic fire,” Mari wrote on the GoFundMe post. “Luckily everyone had exited the home safely but everything from food, to new housing and clothing was lost and will be needed. To help get them back up on their feet please help to donate. Any help is greatly appreciated in this time of need!”
Established Wednesday morning with a goal of raising $10,000, more than half of that amount had already been raised by Thursday morning, thanks to 123 donors.
Another GoFundMe account was created to assist the Salvatore family, who lost their home and belongings to the fire.
“On March 2nd the apartment next to the Salvatore’s apartment caught fire which spread and they lost everything. Let’s do what we can to help them out!” organizer Kelli Morridian wrote.
Established with a $5,000 goal, as of Thursday the Salvatore GoFundMe was up to $4,610 from 73 donors.
“This is another family who lost everything in the tragic fire last night in Youngstown,” Youngstown Trustee Nicole Khouri Quarantillo wrote on her “Lewiston, NY and neighbors” Facebook page. “If you can donate or somehow help. Please do.”
To assist either family, visit www.gofundme.com.
Still more assistance is being availed to the families by the Lewiston-Porter School District.
“Several families have lost everything. L-P is doing all it can for each,” Board of Education President Jodee Riordan said. “Our social workers are assisting with support – they will help in any/all ways needed. They are truly the best.
“Faculty and staff are donating gift cards for food, household items (Tops, Walmart, Wegmans, Target, etc.), social workers are leading the effort.”
Those interested in assisting the Lewiston-Porter effort may contact Lew-Port social workers Danielle Kudula (middle school, 716-754-8281, ext. 5118/or high school, 716-286-7257; email, [email protected]) or Erin Myers (Lew-Port Primary Education Center, 716-286-7220, ext. 6407; email, [email protected]).