Shelter for fire victims is closed

The city and the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts today closed the shelter at the Lowell Senior Center that had been open since Sunday for those displaced by the Easter morning fire at the Walkway Condominiums.

Red Cross spokeswoman Kat Powers tells me five residents still don’t have a long-term place to stay, but that all five were staying in hotels tonight. Kristen Edwards and her daughter Tiana Hazzle were among those five

Edwards called today and said she thought she had found an apartment she could move into on Friday, but that she didn’t get approved to move in.

“I’m still looking,” she said. “If I can’t find an apartment I’m approved for in enough time then I might run out of funds.”

Assistant City Manager Adam Baacke emailed me today and said fire prevention issues are a large part of the reason the Walkway Condominiums won’t be habitable again for a while, and that inspectional services will be working with the building management company to get the building open again.

“However there is also a need to do some smoke damage cleaning and safety inspection of the heating units in other condos to make sure the conditions that may have triggered this fire aren’t duplicated elsewhere in the building before the Building Commissioner will be comfortable allowing occupancy,” Baacke wrote.

Powers said the Red Cross will continue to work with those like Edwards.

“We have five folks left and we’re working with other agencies to find grant money or anything for them,” Powers said. “We’ll continue to do so until they’re all in a place where they can rebuild their lives.”

If any fire victims still need assistance from the Red Cross, or if any local landlords could provide housing or other help to displaced tenants, call the Red Cross office in Cambridge at 800-564-1234.

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