Maria Solomon was throwing around ideas with fellow parents about how to give kids a place to hang out after school. Unbeknownst to her, two blocks, her own family’s place was burning down.
Solomon (at left in photo), a 33-year-old certified nurse’s assistant and a parent educator, and her three sons (also in photo, along with Maria’s sister) lived on Congress Avenue. Until Tuesday night.
A fire broke out there and destroyed her condo. No surrounding condos were damaged.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire.
Solomon said she had had her stove fixed earlier that day. Shortly before 8:30 p.m., her oldest son, who’s 15, was heating up oil to cook chicken nuggets. He left the kitchen, then returned to find that a fire had started. The son found a cop right outside; the cop called the fire department. The son called Solomon. ‘Run down here!” he said. “There’s a fire.”
At the time Solomon and her two younger children were two blocks away at John C. Daniels School. Solomon was participating in the Parent Leadership Training Institute. She sat in a circle with more than a dozen other parents discussing community projects they plan to organize. Hers involved creating an after-school program for young people.
Now she has a more immediate concern: finding a place to live. Not to mention new furnishings and clothing.
A relative has offered to take in the family temporarily. Solomon has an appointment Friday with government’s Livable City Initiative for help finding a new home.
Most of the family’s belongings, from sheets and towels to the beds, were destroyed in the fire, too, according to Solomon. That includes a washer and dryer, damaged by water that got into the basement as firefighters doused the flames.
Solomon had just recently purchased a $600 drum kit for her 7-year-old son Tyrek. The flames destroyed that, too.
A pet bird died in the fire. A cat survived, but now needs a shelter.
Some of the clothing was salvageable. Angelo Reyes of People’s Laundromat volunteered to wash those clothes three times to remove the smell.
Community members are coming to their aid. The Leadership Institute is collecting donations for the family. (Call 203-676-3110 or 203-520-9708.) A community group called Ice The Beef has organized a “Putting The Pieces Back Together Clothing & Household Donation Drive” for the Solomon family, with a benefit event scheduled to take place Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Anointed Tabernacle Ministries, 76 Hudson St. Call 203-668-6576 for information.