Families share their stories about losing everything in Hudson Falls apartment fire

Shakeela Ahmad and her husband, Micheal Hunt, were just starting a new chapter of their life when chaos erupted last month on Oct. 3.

“I called him [Micheal] like, ‘the buildings on fire!’” Ahmad said.

First responders told Ahmad that she and her newborn baby, Nazir, had to get out of their apartment in Hudson Falls as fast as they could. Hunt rushed home from work.

“I got to protect my family and take care of everybody. I felt so not helpful at that moment. So I was like, ‘I got to get there.’”

Now, the couple is taking it day by day.

“We’re just trying to just get back on our feet, just live a normal life again,” Ahmad said.

Seven families were displaced that night.

The suspect, Peter Lemery, was charged with arson in connection to the fire and he lived in that building. NewsChannel 13 previously learned that Lemery previously served two different prison terms. A judge also ordered him to get a psychiatric evaluation after the fire.

“A lot of it is New York state’s fault. It is. I blame New York state for it a lot because they knew he was a danger,” Bethany Charland said. “That now made all of us homeless or without things that we need.”

Bethany and her sister, Kat, also lost their home in the fire. They said they can’t seem to catch a break.

“I want to say yes, I see an end game but I don’t right now because we don’t even have the money for a security deposit. Even if we were to get a call tomorrow and they say, ‘Hey listen I got a place for you.’ we don’t have it,” Bethany said.

The two have not been as lucky as Ahmad and Hunt, who were able to find an apartment. Bethany and Kat said they have been living out of their car or hotels with Kat’s two kids.

It is no way to live.

“I’m extremely stressed out,” Bethany said.

They need help. Thankfully, both families have received dozens of donations, including clothes, food and even furniture. However, Bethany and Kat said they need a permanent place to call home.

“The holidays are coming up, I usually host Thanksgiving. I do not even have a place to cook. It’s hard,” Bethany said.