Meadowbrook management secures hotel rooms for residents displaced by fire
NORTHAMPTON — At least some of the 39 Meadowbrook Apartments residents who have been living in the Clarion Hotel in Northampton since a fire Monday will be able to stay there until they can move back home, probably on Aug. 2.
The fire caused more than $500,000 in damage to 12 apartments in Building 2 at the Florence housing complex.
Originally, the residents were given rooms at the Northampton hotel, but they were only guaranteed beds there until Friday. Meadowbrook Apartments’ property manager, Preservation Housing Management, had reserved rooms at the Red Roof Inn in Springfield “as a backup” for residents to stay in from Friday until Aug. 2, said Preservation spokeswoman Maria Plati.
“But the (Clarion) hotel has been working with us to ensure that at least some of the residents will be able to remain there,” Plati said Thursday.
Seven of the twelve families will be able to stay, she said, while five will be relocated to two “nearby” hotels. She didn’t know the hotels’ names or where they are located, but said they are closer than the Red Roof Inn.
She said the company worked to find closer temporary housing for displaced tenants after residents — some of whom do not have vehicles — expressed concerns about being relocated so far from their homes.
The issue that a national Jehovah’s Witness Convention held at the Mullins Center in Amherst starting Friday has left few vacancies at nearby hotels, Plati said. Many of the Clarion’s rooms were promised to travelers going to the convention.
The state fire marshal’s office determined that a child playing with a cigarette lighter started the fire in a first-floor bedroom that then spread to the second floor of Building 2 just after 1 p.m. Monday. No one was seriously injured in the blaze, but tenants said at least four pets died.
Plati said Thursday that work to make the apartments habitable again is progressing and some tenants will be able to move back sooner than expected. Everyone should be able to move back in a week, she said, and they’ll be guaranteed housing somewhere until then.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.