Displaced Families Seek Resources After Waterbury Apartment Fire

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Several families are still reeling after a fire swept through several apartment units in Waterbury. The fire began on Monday morning and left one man dead.

Reality is setting in for at least 14 families after flames tore through an apartment building, a two-story apartment, and a local market.

Joel Escanio told NBC Connecticut that his loved ones lost a lot of memories and his family's market.

"We lost pretty much everything because my family used to live there and my father used to own that store," said Escanio. "It's hard to be losing both of them at the same time."

When families on hard times after a natural disaster, non-profits like the American Red Cross steps into the help. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way Red Cross representatives help displaced families.

"We're doing everything that we were doing before, we just can't physically be in front of our clients for face to face contact," said Eric Oubre, a spokesperson with American Red Cross. "We're operating in a virtual environment."

Oubre mentions that the non-profit is still able to provide essentials for families immediately following a natural disaster.

"We can give clients a safe space to stay the night, food in their stomachs, and clothes on their back," said Oubre. "The recovery really takes a community effort so we're working with 2-1-1 Connecticut, United Way, and some faith-based groups in the community."

Many resources provided by the American Red Cross can depend on what each family may need.

"One family may not need what the next family needs," said Oubre. "Our caseworkers work individually to figure out what their needs are and what obstacles they are facing."

Escanio said that he's glad organizations are stepping up even though his family has lost both memories and several belongings.

"We're still alive that's what really matters but we lost a lot of material things," said Escanio.

United Way of Greater Waterbury provides $20,000 a year to the American Red Cross CT chapter for disaster assistance for the region to help in certain instances like the Waterbury Fire.

The American Red Cross urges renters to invest in renters' insurance to help when tragedies hit and recommend having an emergency kit to store both an extra set of clothes and important documents and information.

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