ARMOUR SQUARE — A fire that tore through a Bridgeport coach house has left two families homeless, including one with two boys in elementary school.
The blaze broke out sometime around 5 p.m. Saturday at the split-level apartment, located in the 900 block of West 35th Place. It's unclear what caused the fire.
No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. Several pets, including two cats, four turtles and a snake named Jimmy, all survived.
However, both families, who are now staying with relatives, lost nearly everything, friends and relatives said.
The Catholic school at 3017 S. Wells St. is serving as a drop-off point for donations of money and clothes to help the two boys who live with their mother. Organizers of the donation say they're looking for sizes 12 and 14 in boys clothing and medium-sized women's clothing.
Principal Geraldine Maratea said the school will be open from 7 a.m-2 p.m. for the rest of the week for those looking to make a donation.
Maratea said she's exploring ways to help offset the cost of next year's tuition for the two students.
"These two boys deserve it and so does the family," she said.
Representatives of the Boys and Girls Club, meanwhile, say they're collecting donations for both families because both have been affiliated with the youth club for years.
One of the burned building's tenants, 18-year-old Bianca Frustaci, who lived in the building with her mother, is an art instructor who last year won the local organization's Youth of the Year award for leadership.
"She's going to college in like two weeks and she just lost all her stuff," said Chloe Pineda, Frustaci's sister.
Theresa Donnelly, club athletic director, said, "We're doing something, as much as we can to help," adding that all of the families could especially use donated clothes and help restoring and cleaning up the damaged building."
Volunteers at the club have already donated gift cards and other items and the board is expected to meet later this week to find more ways to help.
Anyone looking to make a donation to the families can drop items off at the club, 3400 S. Emerald Ave.
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