Less than 24 hours after a Southold house fire left several people homeless, the community is raising money for the victims.
Community Action Southold Town is now accepting donations for the residents of a Main Road home that was severely damaged Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the crippling blizzard tapered off.
Bob Tapp of Greenport — organizer of another successful fundraiser, the North Fork Design Show house — contacted CAST after learning of the fire, which left his friend of 25 years, Ubaldo Perez, without a place to live.
Mr. Perez was out shoveling snow at the time of blaze and was unharmed, Mr. Tapp said.
“He wants to be there for as many people as he can,” Mr. Tapp said. “[Mr. Perez] is beloved on the North Fork.”
Mr. Perez is one of several people who were living at the Southold home. Another, Edgar Ochoa, said he had just moved in a week ago and was the only person inside at the time of the fire. He escaped unharmed.
Southold Fire Department Chief Peggy Killian said the 2:45 p.m. fire sparked in a wood-burning stove. And since the house is over 100 years old, it lacked more modern features that would have prevented the fire from spreading so quickly.
“It went right up through the walls,” she said.
Another resident of the house, Nixon Antonio Cantala Velize, said he was out shoveling snow elsewhere when he got a call from a friend about the fire.
He returned to find the house ablaze. During an interview outside the house Tuesday, he said his main concern was about cash savings he had inside.
Southold, Cutchogue, Mattituck and Greenport fire departments all sent volunteers to help. Firefighters had to dig through snow along the roadway to access fire hydrants.
Fire crews had the fire under control as of 3:45 p.m. but were still working inside the house.
The residents, including Mr. Perez, who is a full-time custodian at Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Cutchogue and a father of three, are now displaced, Mr. Tapp said.
Denis Noncarrow, chairman of CAST, said the nonprofit group is happy to lend a helping hand.
“This is a particularly difficult time of year for these people to go through this,” he said. “People want to help out. CAST is just the catalyst to make that happen.”
Donations by check can be made payable to CAST with “victims of fire” written on the memo line, Mr. Noncarrow said.
CAST’s mailing address is P.O. Box 159, Greenport, NY 11944.