Fire arrests a relief to those with first-hand memories

March 02, 2017 06:32 PM

SCHENECTADY - The arrests on Thursday in connection with the deadly 2015 Jay Street fire come just a few days shy of the second anniversary. It's welcome news to two people affected by the fire, including one who survived it.

Jay Street in Schenectady is an place of mixed emotions now. People seem pleased that the criminal justice system never gave up on what happened here. On the other hand, people are saddened and disgusted that the tragedy had to happen in the first place.

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Many people might not be sure if the pivotal moment in their life has already occurred or if it lies in the future.

However, Brenda Lupe is certain that what happened to her March 6, 2015 was the defining moment in her life.

"It will always be in the back of my mind, but it's something I'm trying to get over and it's been really hard struggling," she admitted.

Lupe lived on the fifth floor of 102 Jay Street. At the time of the deadly inferno, she had only been there for a couple of weeks and now two years later, it's hard to forget what happened.

"Look, everything is on fire. People are jumping from the building window. I saw that and that just freaked me out," she recalled.

At the Bel Cibo Bistro at 96 Jay Street, the lunch crowds returned more than a year ago, but Jeanette Massara says she's still waiting for something else to come back and she remains skeptical.

"It's getting back to a sense of normalcy, but today kind of brought up a lot the old, you know, sadness in that time. You don't forget that -- seeing people you know forever gone. It's hard," admitted Massara.

She says its heartbreaking to hear that people may have died because other people allegedly didn't do their job. She also wonders why culpability doesn't extend a little further.

"It can't just be two people. They are supervised by other people that should be overseeing whether or not they're doing their job. Why wasn't that done," wondered Massara.

Meanwhile, Lupe says manslaughter charges and the possibility of serious jail time seem appropriate to her.

"People’s lives were lost, lots of people were displaced. Our lives were messed up too, you know, so yeah, I think it's just right," Lupe concluded.

Lupe lost everything she owned in the fire. Her cash settlement from the insurance company was $500.


WNYT Staff

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