Neighbors Raise $12K for Marlboro St. Fire Victims

A fledgling neighborhood association raised more than $12,000 for five renters who lost nearly all their possessions after a devastating house fire on Marlboro Street in the early morning hours of May 21.

The efforts by the Belmont Corner Neighborhood Association – including establishing an online fund raising site (fundly.com) and running a day-long yard sale on the street on May 31 – will result in the raised donations split among the fire victims who lived on the first and third floor of the house at 58 Marlboro which is owned by Joe and Colleen Piccolo, according to BCNA’s Erin Lubien.

The building, which was declared a total loss by the Belmont Fire Department, was taken down in the first two days of the week.

In a June 4 press release, Lubien said the association – which was created last year – used Nextdoor.com, the private social network for neighborhoods, to send out urgent text messages and e-mails the morning of the fire inviting the victims into local homes for shelter.

Lubien said the in the days since the fire, neighbors have used Nextdoor to organize, coordinate, and market the neighborhood-wide yard sale with all proceeds going to the fund.

She also said there were many examples of the community coming together to support the renters, “showcasing the amazing generosity of and care for a truly unique neighborhood,” said Lubien.

• “Sophia’s Greek Pantry inspired the idea of a raffle table to be held at the yard sale, and baked large trays of Spanikopita to feed the volunteers and sell to shoppers. We are also indebted to Sophia for her introduction to Helpis.org, an organization who specifically helps those in need during catastrophic times. Helpis donated many collected goods and clothes for both the victims and the yard sale.”

• “While at the yard sale shopping for free, tenants from the first floor of 58 Marlboro met Kay, a neighbor around the corner. Kay introduced the couple to Tom, whose rental property in Belmont Corner emptied that morning. Tom immediately came to meet the couple, brought them to the apartment, secured the lease, delayed collection of the security deposit, and maintained the rental rate instead of raising it as he had planned.”

• “A Cambridge firefighter who fought the Marlboro St. fire collected items from his firehouse to donate to the yard sale. His wife arrived at 7 a.m. to deliver his donations and spent the entire day aiding in all aspects of the yard sale and organization of donations.”

“This incident and the actions our neighbors took to help one another is a great testament to the power of community we have built in Belmont Corner,” said Lubien.

The BCNA is moving the future funding to Belmont Savings Bank. Checks made payable to the “58 Marlboro St Belmont Fire Fund” can be mailed or brought to:

ATTN: Lillian Ayala

Belmont Savings Bank

2 Leonard Street

Belmont, MA 02478

For more information, please contact belmontcorner@gmail.com

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