On a cold and windy night last Wednesday, January 21st, the Avalon at Edgewater apartment complex in Edgewater, NJ was engulfed in a horrible 5 alarm fire. It took many hours for the 500 first responders from 35 towns in New Jersey and New York to finally control the blaze but not before several of the 408 units in the complex received damage or were completely destroyed.
The reports from the media in North Jersey state that the police investigation determined that the fire was accidentally started by maintenance workers who were using a blowtorch to fix a leaking pipe in the southern end of the complex. The Borough of Edgewater took steps today to set aside over $240,000 in funds to cover the estimated costs of dealing with this massive fire.
In the end, these tragic events initially displaced 400 families, according to the American Red Cross. However, some of those families have been able to return to their homes, but 240 families lost their homes completely. Most of those people also lost everything that they owned. It is estimated that 1,000 people were impacted in some degree by this terrible tragedy.
It has been about one week since the fire in Edgewater, and the focus is now on how to help those who are in desperate need and are displaced from their homes during a stretch of brutal winter weather in New Jersey.
First, the Borough government began a Go Fund Me page for the victims which has raised over $60,000.00 for those in need. I will include the link because several pages are up on that site related to the Edgewater fire, but this is the official page set up by the Mayor: http://www.gofundme.com/edgewater-fire
Next, a non-profit called Edgewater Strong was started to accept and receive donations of gifts-in-kind of supplies, food, and clothing. They received so many donations the volunteers have been overwhelmed by the response.
The Red Cross stepped in and provided disaster relief services including finding temporary shelter for those displaced. I talked with a Red Cross public relations spokesperson yesterday regarding my own personal interest in donating and I was told that the need for cash donations is critical at this point to help those who are displaced to assist in paying rent or for hotel rooms for temporary shelter.
The other pressing need moving forward is for money for school supplies because the fire destroyed the supplies of more than 150 children. The town is hopeful that those children can continue going to school in the district, but the reality is that some families might have to find temporary housing at a distance from the schools in Edgewater, which will force the children to lose their sense of stability and continuity.
How To Help
If you would like to take action and help those impacted by this horrendous fire in Edgewater, you can use the link mentioned earlier in this article to visit the Go Fund Me page set up by the Borough.
Next, you could contact the American Red Cross, as the spokesperson told me yesterday they have provided disaster relief to 7 more fires in the 7 days since the Edgewater blaze just in North Jersey alone. The Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-Red-Cross or http://www.redcross.org/ or you can mail a check to:
American Red Cross – North Jersey Region
209 Fairfield Rd
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Please keep in mind that if you donate to the Red Cross you cannot stipulate that the funds go directly to the Edgewater fire, they provide disaster relief to any number of situations including fires.
Additionally, you could contact Edgewater Strong to help with educational supply related costs by writing a check to:
Edgewater Education Foundations (appears on check)
c/o EVG School
251 Undercliff Ave
Edgewater, NJ 07020
This fire at the Edgewater at Avalon complex was one of the most horrific fires I have ever seen. Some of the residents there have been displaced at the worst possible time of the year in the dead of winter and lost everything. If you can help in any way they need your support and generosity. I know that through this tragedy will come the promise that tomorrow holds for a better future for those effected.
(Background information courtesy of North Jersey.com and ABC News.com)