Community members affected by Bushwick fire regroup, attempt to move forward

He says most of them live in the area, and are mostly "asking questions about their jobs and stuff, and we don't have no answers on that as of right now."

Greg Thompson

May 3, 2024, 2:42 AM

Updated 20 days ago

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Many people affected by a massive fire that started at a Bushwick supermarket on Wednesday were back at the scene Thursday trying to pick up the pieces.
The fire spread to four buildings.
"I can't even think that this happened," says Abdul Flores, one of the 55 people the Red Cross says lost their homes in the fire.
Others were also still in a state of disbelief, including Michael Sanchez, who was the store manager on duty at Christa's Kitchen and Market.
"I didn't expect this to be that bad, because the fire started very small, but it spread extremely fast," he says.
Sanchez says he has stayed at the scene since the fire on Wednesday to help coordinate with officials, the owner and his co-workers.
He says most of them live in the area, and are mostly "asking questions about their jobs and stuff, and we don't have no answers on that as of right now."
The people who lived in those buildings the flames spread to were also looking for answers, as the city Department of Buildings spent hours inspecting, and then boarding up their homes.
Natasha McCarthy was another resident who came back to try to see what was left.
After getting tired of waiting for official permission from her landlord, she just went in to see the damage on her own, returning to tell News 12 that "it's frustrating. You don't want to believe it's all gone but, it is."
While there are now vacate orders on the buildings, McCarthy and many others were able to retrieve some of their things - including clothes, legal documents and work computers, which McCarthy says gives her some sense of relief.
"We just need stuff, you feel better having a little more control - that's what it is, control, you feel like you didn't have any control, you're trying to get stuff to you know, survive until you get yourself back on your feet," she says.
While the flames did not spread to the John Coker Learning Center further down the corner, the people who work there tell News 12 that it still was told to shut down because of water damage and asbestos in the air.
The center says the have around 110 kids who go to pre-school and after-school activities there, and that they are not sure when the air quality will be good enough to reopen.


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