Federal help coming for Bridgeport fire victims - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Federal help coming for Bridgeport fire victims

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The federal government is helping more than 120 people that are homeless after a fire in Bridgeport on New Year’s Eve. 

For nearly 11 years, Claire Marchetti and Mark Rubano rented one of the 36 units at Charles Street. They're part of the 121 park city residents who are trying to rebuild their lives. 

“"We've been taking it one day at a time,” Marchetti said. “It’s been getting better."

They lost everything after a car parked underneath the condos caught fire and quickly spread New Year’s Eve morning.

That's why on Tuesday they spent the afternoon chatting with Reid Hoke with the Small Business Administration. 

"My personal belongings if they can, but mostly a small loan to get an apartment, a house, something like that,” Marchetti said. 

The smoke could be seen for miles as firefighters battled the flames for hours. Nearly a month after the largest residential fire in Bridgeport’s history, the rubble is all that's left.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, along with U.S. senators Chris Murphy and Richard Bluemethal, said it’s an option not that many know about.  

So the Small Business Administration is setting up an outreach center for the fire victims that offers small loans for personal property loss. The center could provide up to $40,000 for renters, and up to $200,000 for homeowners.

"If you're imagining a homeowner, might need just a $5000 loan to replace to some personal property, a 30 year loan at 4% would be about $25 a month,” Murphy said. “You simply can't find that type of loan in the private sector."

The low interest loans provide a chance to find new apartments, condos, clothes, appliances, even cars.

 "We can't replace photographs and of course everybody had a huge disaster,” Hoke said. “But monetarily, we usually can get them back to where they were before the disaster hit."

That's all they're looking for.

"Get started again, maybe a nice, fresh, good start,” Mark Rubano, of Bridgeport, said.  
Representatives with the Small Business Administration will be at the city government center on Broad Street on Wednesday at 8 a.m. to register people and answer questions

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