Community rallies behind Warwick apartment building fire victims

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A week after fire tore through the Chateau Apartments on Warwick Avenue, the community continues to help the dozens of people who lost their homes.

On Saturday, several local firefighters and organizations came together to collect donations and gift cards.

“It’s like the whole state has opened up their hearts and they’re helping out these people,” Todd Brown said.

Rhode Islanders are answering the call for help — especially after hearing residents’ accounts of losing everything in the early morning fire on February 13.

“We ran out of the house and it was just engulfed. Pouring, the smoke was pouring out of the sides,” a resident told 12 News the morning of the fire.

It’s an experience firefighters witness every day. That’s why Lincoln Firefighter Todd Brown, Western Coventry Firefighter William Macari, and others created “After Fire Victims Outreach” as a way to support those who have lost everything.

“It’s tough. It’s a tough thing. So now we’ve designed this program so we can try and not so much give back what they’ve lost, but try to give them some hope towards the future,” William Macari said.

Just days after the apartment building fire, local fire departments and police put out calls for help on social media — holding the drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Anyone who wanted could drive through the plaza at the intersection of Warwick Ave. and Namquid Drive and drop off cash or gift cards for the victims.

“Gonna try to help them get back into an apartment or other source of residence. Clothing, furniture, food, whatever they need to survive,” Todd Brown said.

“It’s a local thing. I’ve lived in Warwick all my life and especially because it’s during a pandemic, this is the last thing people need, so I just thought it would be good to come down and donate,” Nicole D’Andrea said.

Members of the Warwick Police Department, Warwick Firefighters and Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi will host a similar drive on Sunday in the Ann & Hope parking lot on Post Road in Warwick.

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