Community Rallies to help a single mom displaced by a fire in Philmont

Jonathan Hunter
Created: April 07, 2021 11:16 PM

Eleven people in Philmont are now without a home as a result of a fire that took place Tuesday Morning on Block Street. 

The fire ripped through the four-unit apartment building. 

"I was shocked. I couldn't believe that actually happened to somebody I know. I've seen it and I've heard about it on the news, but I've never known somebody who has been impacted by something like that," said Carlos Lopez, a cashier at the Martindale Chief Diner. 

Lopez works with Jessica Wallace, one of the people displaced. Wallace is a single mom to four children. 

"She always talks about how she struggles because she is a single mother and she needs helps during this time on herself and her family and people to help here," said Lopez. 


The diner is collecting donations. Wallace's family also started a gofundme page. They say Wallace is a very unselfish person. She started a wine fairy group, which gives adults who have struggled small gifts. Gary Garafalo stops by the diner two to three times a day. He praises Wallace. 


"I treat her like all of the rest of the waitresses, I harass and aggravate them. And she handles it {really} well. She gives me back. She hasn't thrown anything at me, hasn't poured any coffee on me or anything like that. Personality-wise she is very congenial and interacts with you nicely," said Garafalo. 


The Red Cross says six adults and five children were displaced. 


The Red Cross is assisting all of those displaced by the fire. If you want to help donate to the Red Cross to help the victims, you can contact them at 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can reach out to Mary Alice Molgard at maryalice.molgard@redcross.org. Molgard is the Disaster Public Affairs Team Lead for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. 


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