As Potsdam Fire Victims Rebuild Lives, Community Helps

As Potsdam Fire Victims Rebuild Lives, Community Helps

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It was a week ago fire broke out at Lawrence Avenue Apartments and displaced 49 people.

Nancy Barley credits neighbor Brian Fuller with warning her and others.

“I can still here his voice in my head saying, 'Nancy! Nancy! Wake up. There's a fire. There's fire.' And when I opened my door he said, 'Grab the boy'," Barley said.

Barley grabbed her son and her cat. Everyone made it out of building F. 49 people in all have to rebuild their lives. First Presbyterian Church lent a hand with a clothing drive Saturday.

“It's local people. It's an obvious need," said Renee Stauffer, an organizer of the clothing drive. "People want to help their neighbors and we've gotten amazing donations.”

All of it was donated in just three days. The food items were donated by Helping Hands. Some people lost everything in the fire. The apartments won't reopen anytime soon.

The most pressing need for people who lived here is housing. They've been told they'll have to find new apartments.

The apartments have subsidized rents. It will be hard to find comparable rents in Potsdam.

People with children are wondering if they'll have to switch schools.

“We got to find another place within, for the next year or so, till they're rebuilt. I don't know how it's going to work. It's tough," Barley said.

Housing management has been referring people to other low-cost housing. Short-term stays at local hotels have been provided.

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