NORWAY — A block away from the Main Street boarding house fire that left about a dozen men and women homeless, a group of young Norway residents has been collecting food, clothing, money and other items since Monday morning.
The early-morning fire at 467 Main St. tore through the building Monday, and most residents escaped with only their clothing. A short time later, friends of the residents were already working to gather supplies.
Laura Gleason, who once lived in the boarding house, made a flier Monday morning and began distributing it, asking for clothes, personal items and food.
Since then, she and several friends have been collecting relief in the Information Booth in downtown Norway. They’ve collected food and clothing, pet food and about $700 so far, according to Deana McClain. An antique store has brought glassware, baskets and even small furniture.
McClain said she knew several tenants, including Todd Fickett, who is accused of setting the fire. She said she saw Fickett running from the building on the morning of the fire.
Then, she saw an orange glow coming from Main Street. “I actually cried when I saw that burning building,” McClain said Thursday.
Now, she and Gleason, along with friends Kristy-Lee Record, Robby Emrich and Joe Bonney are collecting what they can for their friends. McClain’s husband, Brendon McClain, is transporting the food to them.
McClain said five of the fire victims have found homes in other buildings owned by Madeline Pratt, who ran the boarding house. Still, their clothing is gone and some don’t have family in the area.
On Saturday, the group will hold a barbecue to benefit fire victims. McClain said Hannaford and Save a Lot have offered to donate some food. They’ll be selling hot dogs and hamburgers for $1 each Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The group is still accepting donations at the information booth on Main Street. McClain said several of the victims still don’t have deodorant, toothpaste and other toiletries.
Bonney said he’s been impressed with the turnout. “It’s good to see how the town and the community came together.”