Area Residents, University Help Victims of Carriage Hill Fire

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ATHENS, Ohio – Residents of the Carriage Hill Apartments displaced by a fire are getting help from area residents and Ohio University.

The fire that erupted at approximately 4:15 Sunday evening destroyed 21 apartments and displaced approximately 50 residents according to Tim Callahan, the Disaster Program Manager for the Southeastern Ohio Red Cross.

Ohio University set up a donation center in the 1804 Lounge on the 5th floor of the Baker Student Center to help those who lost their belonging in the blaze.

Ohio University graduate Caroline Bresnahan is one of scores of volunteers/donars helping out.

“After the Union Street fire it became pretty clear how fast you can lose everything,” Bresnahan said. “I met some girls who were displaced from the Union Street fire and they said it was horrible. All of their belongings were gone.”

Bresnahan donated canned goods and convinced her boss at the Court Street BP to donate t-shirts from the store’s inventory.

By 10:00 a.m. Monday, the Lounge filled with non-perishable food items, clothing, toiletries and any other necessities.

The entrance to the 1804 Lounge in Baker.
The entrance to the 1804 Lounge in Baker.

Ohio University graduate student and former Carriage Hill resident Alex Pleskach, who lost everything but his cat and the clothes he was wearing, said the donations were helping him move forward.

“There’s a really amazing donation center in Baker,” Pleskach said. “A couple students have actually reached out to me to make sure I have everything I need. The community has really come together.”

Ohio University Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones is working with students displaced by the fire by providing housing and meals in university facilities.

Tim Callahan of the Red Cross said such fires have increased nationwide. The Red Cross is also helping the fire victims of Carriage Hill with food, water and shelter. He said when those needs are met, it will be easier to create a long-term plan for them.

Ohio University is accepting donations for the fire victims throughout the week. The 1804 Lounge is open 7 a.m. through midnight Monday through Saturday. The American Red Cross Athens Chapter may be reached at 740-593-5273.