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Campus rallies around 7 student fire victims

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The University at Albany community has come together to aid seven students who lost their home in downtown fire earlier this month.

The flames started as a small grease fire in 176 Quail St., but escalated after a woman tried to put the fire out with water, according to the Albany Fire Department.

Six of the nine houses on the street were affected by the fire, which displaced 50 people, according to the Times Union.

“All the residents were sitting on the side walk on the opposite side of the fire after they were evacuated at 4:30 a.m. until about 10:30 in the morning,” said Claire Bramley, a senior at the university, whose home was one of the three on the strip that was unaffected.

Many in the UAlbany community – from individuals to school organizations – have rallied around the seven students impacted by the fire in their time of need.

The university has provided the students with two weeks of emergency on-campus housing, which includes a meal plan at no charge and has assisted the students in requesting academic accommodations from instructors.

In addition, the university is exploring ways to help the impacted students using the Student Emergency Fund.

A GoFundMe named, “170 Quail Fire Relief Fundraiser,” was started by Peter Valdez, a student impacted by the fire.

The description reads that the funds raised will help cover the cost of their books, clothes, essentials, housing, cost of furnishing future dwelling, food and other items they lost in the fire.

The goal was originally to raise $7,000, which would be evenly distributed among the seven students. After a flood of donations, the goal was increased to $10,000 – an amount that has already been surpassed.

The Educational Opportunities Program Student Action Committee (ESAC) held a care drive for the students this past week, seeking everything from clothes, canned goods, cash donations and toiletries.

“Donations most needed are cash donations considering they need new housing, and several amenities that were taken away and would help them most in getting on their feet, however any donation helps,” said Briana Parchment, ESAC’s co-programming chair.

Those who were unable to attend the drive can still contribute by emailing esac1968@gmail.com.

Home in a Package (HIP), a company started by a former UAlbany student, has unveiled a promotional event on its website to help the fire victims.

For an undetermined amount of time, those who use the code “170 Quail” when purchasing a HIP box receive 15 percent off their purchase, which will be delivered and donated directly to the hands of the seven students.

The packages come in varying sizes, and contain various goods such as beverages, snacks, and toiletries.

Moussa Paye, the CEO of HIP, has already sponsored seven freshmen size care packages. He hopes more students will contribute in helping the victims obtain basic essentials which will help them make a step forward in the right direction.

UAlbany Neighborhood Life is co-sponsoring a Community Benefit Dinner on Oct. 11. The dinner will help raise donations for all survivors of the fire, not just the UAlbany students.

The dinner will be held at the First Lutheran Church at 646 State St. in Albany from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5 for students and seniors; $10 for adults and $15 for families.

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