Paterson residents start over after devastating fire that destroyed multiple buildings on River Street

Flames destroyed the homes on the 500 block of River Street Wednesday, and now those residents are scrambling to find new homes. (3/27/14)

PATERSON - Nearly a dozen families are homeless after a fire ripped through several apartment buildings in Paterson.

Flames destroyed the homes on the 500 block of River Street Wednesday, and now those residents are scrambling to find new homes.

Like most of her neighbors, Neuris Lopez is now trying to put her life back together. "Everything is completely gone," she says. "We have nothing."

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The Red Cross set up an office at the nearby veterans' center.  It is now providing food and supplies to 40 people.  Volunteers are also trying to find them temporary housing.

"We've housed seven families at a local hotel," says Robert Pavlick, of the American Red Cross. "The other residents have been provided with food and clothing on a credit card."

Residents of neighboring buildings that weren't as badly damaged were able to go inside late last night to salvage what they could. "They actually let us in last night around 2 o'clock to pack a bag," says Julia Gonzalez, who says her apartment has a lot of smoke damage.

Many of their neighbors are now starting from scratch, with the help of friends and family. 

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