Many residents of the apartment building damaged by a multi-alarm fire in Spring Valley Wednesday face the complete loss of their homes.
Volunteers with the Metro New York North American Red Cross arrived early in the day Wednesday to offer assistance to those who are at least temporarily displaced by the fire in the building that is part of the Raymond Castle Apartment complex at 500 E. Funston Ave.
"There are an estimated 60 units in the building. Right now we are working in cooperation with the police and the mayor's office to identify a shelter in the area, as we expect a large number of people to be displaced," said Carolyn Sherwin of the Red Cross. "We set up an initial reception center for the families. We've me with 11 of them.
"Some people will be allowed back in a day or two. Others had their apartments completely destroyed."
The families were initially sent to the Spring Valley Police Department. As many as 37 people were been there at one time or another Wednesday afternoon.
Residents were moved to Spring Valley High School later in the day Wednesday. Some may be sheltered by the Red Cross for two days. The Red Cross's Metro New York North region includes Rockland, Westchester, Putnam and Sullivan Counties in New York and Greenwich, CT. Sherwin said volunteers are coming from all of those counties to help, including assistant response directors from Rockland, Westchester and Sullivan Counties.
"The police, the mayor's office, the department of social services, everybody is on the ground," Sherwin said. "We hit the ground running."
Sherwin said there will be assistance beyond finding shelter for those who have lost their homes.
"Some mental health volunteer professionals are coming," Sherwin said. "They are really the anchors in the storm. They are going to help be that shoulder to cry on and that ear for the displaced families."
She directed individuals to help to the American Red Cross Website at www.nyredcross.org, where donations can be made.
"Any financial support will help them on the road to recovery," Sherwin said.