Nearly $90K in donations collected for hundreds of families displaced by massive Jackson Heights fire

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An eight-alarm fire broke out in an apartment building in Jackson Heights on Tuesday, April 6. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

Community members are collecting donations and supplies for the hundreds of families who have been displaced as a result of a massive fire that ripped through a six-story apartment building in Jackson Heights on Tuesday, April 6.

The eight-alarm fire first broke out inside an apartment on the top floor of the building located at 89-07 34th Ave. around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and later spread into a small section of the building next door at 89-11 34th Ave., according to the FDNY. It took more than 11 hours and 300 firefighters to bring the fire under control.

Twenty five people, including 19 firefighters and six residents, were injured by the flames, with most of the injuries being non-life-threatening, according to the FDNY.

As a result of the fire, 130 units of the apartment building were damaged and more than 200 families had to leave their homes.

The American Red Cross of Greater NY has provided emergency housing in hotels for about 80 families.

To further support the families, a GoFundMe was created on behalf of the building’s tenants union, 89th Street Tenants Unidos.

“A community made up of majority low-income, working-class, immigrant essential workers, already experiencing the aftermath of COVID-19, are now without their homes,” Daniel Puerto, Love Wins Food Pantry organizer and community activist, wrote in the fundraiser message. “It’s hard to express the deep sadness we felt tonight as we looked into our neighbors eyes and asked how we could help. We know that it will take a while before our neighbors and their families are back to what they knew as normal.”

The funds collected will be distributed to the families in need, with a goal of raising $250,000. At the time of publication, about $90,000 has already been raised.

The tenants union took to Twitter to ask for any support possible.

“We are at a loss for words after this fire destroyed the homes of over 130 families yesterday. We feel your love & support & thank u all So much [sic],” they wrote. “We have nothing but the clothes we were wearing.”

A drive for donations of diapers, chargers, toiletries and personal protective equipment will be accepted at the South Ridge playground site, located at 33-45 90th St. beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7.

On Wednesday, the FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit also shared safety information at the corner of 90th Street and 34th Avenue in response to the fire, which FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said could have been avoided.

Nigro emphasized that it’s important to close the doors if a fire breaks out in your apartment or home.

“If you do unfortunately have a fire in your home, it’s important to close that door because the fire spreads out into the hallway and [FDNY] units are unable to make a quick advance,” Nigro said.

Anyone impacted by the fire who has not yet connected with the Red Cross can call 877-RED-CROSS, and hit “option 1.”