Residents rally to the aid of Grove Street victims

The East Boston community has rallied to help the victims of the Gove Street fire that killed two people.

A fund with an initial deposit of $1,000 from East Boston Savings Bank (EBSB) has been established to benefit the families affected by the May 29 fire.

The initial deposit led to wave of generosity that included $1,000 deposits from Suffolk Downs, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and the City of Boston.

Local businessman Joseph Ruggiero donated his services as a funeral director to help make funeral arrangement locally for the victims and their families.

“When there’s a neighborhood tragedy like this, helping the victims and their families is the right thing to do,” said Ruggiero.

With the two victims originally from El Salvador, Ruggiero arranged for the bodies to be transported to the victim’s families there as well.

Ruggiero had some help from the Salvadorian Consulate, which held a fundraiser and telethon at La Hacienda Sunday night to raise money for the transportation of the bodies as well as travel expenses for the families living in Boston.

Assisting with the fund’s establishment was Eastie’s Neighborhood Liaison Ernani DeAraujo and City Councilor Sal LaMattina.

“All money that is left over from these fundraising efforts will go to the survivors of the tragedy,” said DeAraujo.

LaMattina said the outpouring of support made him proud to be an East Bostonian.

“This is what this neighborhood has always been about,” said LaMattina. “When one of us is hurt, we all feel it. This was a horrible tragedy but one that brought the neighborhood together.”

East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) is already helping survivors by getting those displaced by the fire permanent affordable housing in the neighborhood as well as food and clothes.

If you would like to make a contribution to the fund, donations can be dropped off at any EBSB branch office during business hours. Or, donations can also be mailed to Gove Street Fire Victims Fund, c/o East Boston Savings Bank-Orient Heights, 10 Meridian Street, East Boston, MA 02128. All checks should be made payable to the 64 Gove Street Fire Victims Fund.

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