Last week, Martha Baker, whose family runs the Furniture Doctor in Bloomfield, came out to in sub-zero temperatures to see their other business on the property, the Valley Motel Apartments, engulfed in flames. 11 people lost their living quarters that day. Baker says those tenants in the former facility were either family or close friends. “It’s weird not having them next door,” she adds.
20 years ago, the motel was turned into apartments for moderate to low-income individuals. According to Thomas Baker, with this building now demolished, apartments for that demographic no longer exist in Bloomfield.
Baker says the support from the community for some of the former tenants has been amazing. “People have been very generous, with clothing, even right down to bicycles (getting) replaced.”
Some of those affected have been put into temporary housing by the Red Cross, but permanent housing for those who lost so much is Baker’s objective. They have set up donation boxes across town, and made a Go Fund Me page online.
“New housing. That’s the big thing. Clothing and so forth is easier, now they don’t have any place to put it, they need a place to live,” says Baker. “We had no fault in the fire, but we certainly feel responsible for helping them,” he adds.
As for the clean up and insurance costs, Martha Baker says the 11 former tenants in need come first, and this incident has yet to sink in. “Just (taking it) day by day. It still hasn’t really hit.”
The former motel was deemed by firefighters to be a total loss. The Baker family praised the firefighters for their efforts, hailing them as heroes. While the Baker family suspects an electrical issue as the cause, it remains under investigation.