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Community Organizations Form 'Ferry Street Fire Fund' to Help Victims of Easton Blaze | WDIY Local News

Fire engines from Nancy Run Fire Company respond to the May 29 fire in Easton's West Ward.
Nancy Run Fire Company
Fire engines from Nancy Run Fire Company respond to the May 29 fire in Easton's West Ward.

Several community organizations are banding together to support families displaced by a major fire in Easton.

The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and the Greater Easton Development Partnership said in a release that they have established the Ferry Street Fire Fund, and will be coordinating fundraising efforts to support affected residents.

Partners in the fundraising effort include the Lehigh Conference of Churches and Third Street Alliance for Women & Children, among others.

The fund was created after a fire broke out in the 900 block of Ferry Street in Easton’s West Ward on May 29. According to the release, the fire destroyed or significantly damaged 16 homes and displaced 33 residents.

In a Thursday press release, Easton Fire Chief Henry Hennings said 15 properties were damaged, and 44 residents were displaced.

The United Way, GEDP and partnering organizations said they will use 100% of the funds raised to provide long-term assistance to those affected by the blaze.

Donations can be made online at unitedwayglv.org/firefund, or via mail (checks payable to UWGLV, 1110 American Parkway NE, Suite F-120, Allentown, PA 18109 - attention “Ferry Street Fire Fund”). Anyone looking to donate can also text EASTON to 40403.

David Lewis, President of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, said in a statement that “most families have lost everything and will not be able to return to their homes.”

“Through this partnership with trusted and effective partners in the Easton community, donors can take comfort in knowing that their funds will be properly managed and used only for those affected by the fire,” he said.

“Lives have been turned upside down in a terrible way, and we hope this partnership helps to start to set things right,” added Jared Mast, GEDP’s Executive Director.

The American Red Cross Pennsylvania Rivers Chapter provided immediate aid in the aftermath of the fire, including shelter, food, and emergency supplies, and set up an emergency shelter at the Paxinosa Elementary School gym.

The city of Easton also said financial donations for fire victims are being collected by St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Cash can be dropped off from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday through Friday at the church office. Checks made out to St. John’s Lutheran Church can be mailed to or dropped off at 330 Ferry Street, Easton, PA 18042. Information on making an online monetary donation can be found on the church’s website.

The Easton Salvation Army is also accepting donations of nonperishable food, as well as clothing and shoes for victims. Donations can be delivered to 1101 Northampton Street.

Hennings said the department was dispatched at 3:42 p.m. for a dwelling fire, and after arriving the incident commander requested a recall of off-duty firefighters and mutual aid.

The fire reached multiple alarms and was placed under control just after 8 p.m. In total, 39 fire departments from Northampton, Lehigh, Bucks and Montgomery counties, as well as Warren County, New Jersey, responded, along with police, EMS, utility companies and other agencies.

According to the fire department’s release, the row of homes was built in 1900, and had no fire walls between the properties. They shared a common wall with wood frame construction, with plaster and lathe or drywall, which Hennings said allowed the fire to spread quickly.

He said the department is investigating the fire’s origin and cause.

(Original air-date: 6/1/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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