Norwich Human Services seeks donations for fire victims

Norwich — Norwich Human Services is seeking donations to assist residents of four apartments who were displaced by Sunday's fire that heavily damaged a Washington Street apartment house.

Four units in the six-family house at 218 Washington St. were occupied at the time of the fire Sunday.

Assistant Human Services Director Lee Ann Gomes said she is working with one family of four with two teenage sons, ages 13 and 14 — one a student at Norwich Free Academy and the other at Kelly Middle School. Gomes said the teens are staying with their paternal grandmother while the family tries to find a new home.

School officials are helping to provide school uniforms for the younger teen and to fill backpacks with school supplies for both teens, Gomes said.

Norwich Human Services also is assisting a 63-year-old woman who has lived at the house for the past 43 years. Her two cats were rescued during the fire but needed medical attention, including placement in an oxygen tank. Gomes said city funds cannot be used to pay for the ongoing veterinarian bills, which totaled $260 for the first night of care alone.

Another apartment was occupied by a single man, who has found a new apartment, and two single men who shared an apartment.

Gomes was contacted by Dime Bank, where staff was taking up a collection for all of the Washington Street fire victims. The residents all need new beds, while some need household items, including linens.

Donation checks should be made out to Norwich Human Services with a note that the money is for "fire victims" and should be sent to Norwich Human Services, 80 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360.

Gomes said the department has no storage space, so anyone who has beds or other furniture to offer should contact the department to try to arrange direct delivery as the families find new apartments. For more information, call Human Services at (860) 823-3778.

c.bessette@theday.com

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