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Rooming house fire leaves 14 homeless

Fire drove 14 people from a large rooming house in the city's Broadway-Bailey area Saturday morning, and the Red Cross was called to assist them.

A community effort helped the 10 adults, three teens and a toddler who were chased from their residence as firefighters responded to an 8:05 a.m. alarm at 241 Ashley St. The house is south of Broadway, a few blocks west of Bailey Avenue.

"Everything we do is a community effort," said Jay Bonafede, local Red Cross spokesman. "It was a very rainy night, and we are thankful for our specially trained disaster action team, who are all volunteers, as well as the NFTA, who brought a bus to shelter the victims as they were being interviewed and then provided transportation to a local hotel. The Salvation Army also brought some refreshments, coffee and cookies."

Bonafede said the majority of the time the team is called upon to help victims in single-family homes or apartments.

"We are fairly well-equipped," Bonafede said of helping 14 people at one time. "But we would not have left them out in the cold. We would have found some type of temporary shelter."

He said no matter the disaster, the Red Cross relies on the community as both volunteers and for donations.

"In any disaster these people have had their lives turned upside down in a minute. They have lost everything and are forced from their homes. We are there to provide assistance," Bonafede said.

The fire was brought under control at 8:22 a.m.

The blaze caused an estimated $115,000 damage. The cause remains under investigation.

Those who would like to assist the Red Cross can do so at the national website, www.redcross.org.

email: gwarner@buffnews.com and nfischer@buffnews.com