LEWISTON — It has been all hands on deck for Katie Krantz and Dan Caron after a weekend fire on Blake Street displaced 27 tenants and left one man dead.

Justine Burns pipes cream filling into a raspberry napoleon Monday at The Green Ladle in Lewiston. The dessert was part of a meal being served to families displaced by the Blake Street fire over the weekend. The kitchen, which functions as a teaching environment for Lewiston High School students, raises money for community humanitarian efforts through sales from their food truck. Kyle Bedell braids bread dough in the background. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Felicien K. Betu, 70, died from injuries suffered when he jumped from a window on the building’s top floor Saturday, according to officials.

Lewiston School Superintendent Jake Langlais said The Green Ladle, the culinary program at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center, is assisting with meals, while The Store Next Door, which operates out of Lewiston High School, is donating other resources, including clothing.

Krantz, Lewiston School Department’s homeless resources coordinator who also works for The Store Next Door, has been working with 40-plus students impacted by Saturday’s blaze.

“I work with a wonderful team of individuals here at the high school,” she said. “We’ve been able to work with the other students here at Lewiston public schools (to meet their needs).”

Langlais also said Sunday that a 70-bed shelter was constructed at the gymnasium at Lewiston High School to house the 27 people, but they left Sunday night to stay at the Ramada Inn.

“The Store Next Door will continue to work with the 40-plus students … that have been impacted by the fire,” Krantz said. “They will receive personal hygiene items. They will receive clothing” and school items. 

“It is a passion,” she said. “You continue to go forward. The families need the support, and that’s what The Store Next Door is here to do.”

Caron, chef and teacher at The Green Ladle, was preparing meals for families and volunteers Monday.

“Tonight, we are preparing Jamaican chicken with rice and fresh rolls that you can see right over there that are being made,” he said. “We are trying to feed them restaurant-quality meals and that is what we serve here at The Green Ladle.

“So we are pleased to be cooking and serving some hot food (Monday night) around 4:30 p.m. — and we have been doing breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s what we do at The Green Ladle. We really try to help out our community.”

As soon Caron heard what happened on Blake Street, he gathered students to prepare food for the displaced people.

“I am a firm believer that we can teach all day the cooking skills you need, but teaching compassion is what we do at the Ladle,” he said. “It is all student-driven and these students are always here to help us.”

Help for the fire victims is coming from other groups in the community, too. Matt Freedman of Breakwater Realty Group, which sold the Blake Street apartment building that burned, started a gofundme.com fundraiser for the families, according to the gofundme page.

“We are reaching out to our large community of friends, family, fellow Realtors, and mortgage professionals, to ask for your help in putting pants, shirts, and shoes back on these children and their families WITHIN THE NEXT 3 DAYS,” Freedman said on the fundraising page, which was posted Sunday.

As of Monday evening, $6,879 had been raised.

Temporary closing

The Lewiston Public Works Department closed down the Blake Street side of the Mark W. Paradis Park playground due to fire at 226 Blake St. The playground will remain closed until the building is stabilized and the playground is repaired.

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