Recovering from preventable house fires

To the Editor:

On February 23 at 1:30 a.m. a fire started in the second floor apartment of our three-family home on 54th street. Thankfully no one was hurt but due to the amount of fire and water damage all 13 people who lived in the house were displaced for an estimated 10 months. It’s hard to fully understand the feeling of displacement until you actually experience it. It is a feeling of disbelief, sadness, and hurt all in one.
The fire started from a space heater. My advice to everyone is simply not to use space heaters; they cause way too many fires. However, if you must, please make sure you do not leave it unattended. We believe the term “personal specialness” applies to some fire victims all too well. The definition is to believe one is exempt from bad things happening to them. It’s when one thinks life will not deal with them in the same harsh ways it deals with everyone else, when in reality we are not different. For example, we hear about all the fires going on around town, yet some people still don’t take the proper precautions because they believe it won’t happen to them. Similar to the person who smokes for 30 years and finds out they have lung cancer. This person knew getting lung cancer is highly likely but perhaps they knew one individual who smoked for 30 years and did not die from lung cancer so they automatically place themselves in the category of exemption rather than the reality. We want to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. Thankfully my wife and I have insurance and we expect our home and personal items to be restored. However my tenants did not have insurance which is why we created a Fundme account for them. My wife and I are extremely thankful for everyone who donated. Donors included employees at Morgan Stanley, close friends and family members and of course many of the amazing residents of Bayonne. Through this account we were able to raise $2,583 with 75 percent of the proceeds going to the tenants of the second floor who lost everything and 25 percent to the first floor who suffered significant water damage. I also want to thank Pastor Joshua Rodriguez and the Cityline church. The moment I told him how much my second floor tenant lost he quickly notified the church and raised $1,200 for them. The family on the first floor raised more than $10,000.00 through their own Fundme account. With those contributions the tenants were able to relocate and buy the necessary furniture they lost.
We truly are thankful for all the people who put aside their circumstances to give a hand in our time of need. Many of the people who donated gave a sacrificial donation as they themselves have their own financial burdens. Those donations blessed our hearts tremendously. We are glad through this experience we were able to see the compassion and love in people.


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