Wallingford residents rally behind 6 left homeless in weekend fire

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WALLINGFORD — Residents are donating clothing, toiletries and money to three households displaced by a fire on South Colony Road.

“This town has always risen to the occasion, it's great to live in a community like that. Wallingford, they get together and make things happen,” said Nadine Nazario, bar manager at Lenny’s Cafe, which is collecting items for those affected by a fire that destroyed a three story residence at 167 S. Colony Road. on Saturday.

Fire Lt. Jeff Dingler said they were dispatched to the fire shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and found heavy smoke and fire on the second and third floors of the building. Firefighters were able to suppress the fire within two hours with mutual aid provided by the Meriden and North Haven fire departments.

All three apartments in the building were left uninhabitable, Dingler said, and a total of six residents were displaced. The fire marshal’s office is handling the investigation into the cause of the fire.

One of the residents who was displaced is a close friend of Nazario’s, so she quickly put together a plan to help all of those impacted by the fire replace what they have lost. Within hours of the fire she had put out posts through the bar’s social media accounts asking people to give what they could. She was surprised to find regulars and strangers alike making donations that night.

Casey Piper, who lived on the third floor of the building, said the support from the community has been amazing. He was hospitalized after jumping from a third floor window, but has been released and is staying with friends.

The fire destroyed most of his belongings and his parents’ — who lived on the second floor — right as the winter months approach.

“I haven't gotten to go through all of the stuff yet, but there’s a lot of clothes, a lot of gift cards and stuff people have been dropping off. Of course it happened at a horrible time but with the support of our friends we'll be able to make it through this,” he said.

Nazario said she’ll be relaying what items they’re in need of through social media posts. All the donations will be going to residents of all three floors. For the time being, she said gift cards are especially helpful so that they can purchase things like shoes.

A GoFundMe was created by Kelly Smalley, a friend of Piper’s, to raise money to help Piper’s family get back on their feet. It was also started on Saturday evening and as of Monday afternoon had received $1,510.

“It’s just one of those things you never think is going to happen to you or anyone you know,” Smalley said. “ … The gofundme’s been incredible. People are just very generous.”

dleithyessian@record-journal.com203-317-2317Twitter: @leith_yessian

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