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Fredericksburg News

Posted on: June 2, 2022

Madonna House Response Update June 2

Madonna House Fire

June 2, 2022 - The occupants of the Madonna House experienced a significant fire on May 16, 2022.  This resulted in many of the occupants being displaced for an extended period of time, and it will still be many months until they can return to their apartments.  

As part of the recovery effort, the Department of Social Services began collecting Gift Cards to distribute to many of those displaced.  Additionally, Healthy Generations Area Agency on Aging set up a GoFundMe Account.  The support and contributions has been overwhelming to say the least.

The time has come to close out the collection process so that funds and gift cards can be distributed.  As of 12 Noon on Monday, June 6, 2022 the Department of Social Services will no longer be collecting Gift Cards, and the GoFundMe Account will stop collecting donations.

Again, we thank all of you that have contributed to support those impacted by the fire on May 16th.  Your tremendous compassion for those in need simply cannot be put into words.

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May 26, 2022 – Support efforts are ongoing for the displaced residents of the May 16th fire at Madonna House at Belmont Seniors Apartments. At this time, multiple residents are temporarily housed at the Clarion Hotel & Suites and the Sleep Inn. The City of Fredericksburg especially wishes to thank the Clarion Hotel for their above and beyond level of incredible support by providing shelter to the displaced residents as well as on-site work spaces for City staff and supporting organizations.   The hospitality and helpfulness of the Clarion hotel staff, especially to the displaced residents, has been truly exceptional.

The City of Fredericksburg Department of Social Services, with help from the Fredericksburg Regional Continuum of Care and the American Red Cross, have been working to identify relief funds and housing options for the displaced residents. And they have been working alongside Madonna House Property Management to help identify a plan for each individual resident who is in temporary shelter due to the fire.

Approximately 25 apartments were fire damaged and will require several months of renovations before they can be reoccupied. The City’s Fire Marshals and Building Inspectors have been assisting the Madonna House Property Management with plans for a phased reopening of the approximately 46 other apartments which were less damaged, with the goal to expedite plans and return residents to these 46 apartments as soon as possible. The property management firm at Madonna House has committed to returning 100% of the displaced residents to their apartments, if they so desire.

The residents of Madonna House senior apartment community are older adults living on a fixed income. Many of the displaced residents have lost all of their belongings – and fundraising efforts are ongoing. Members of our community who wish to help may do so in two ways:

  1. Fredericksburg Social Services has received $540 in gift cards to date, and will continue to accept gift cards in any amount. Gift cards may be delivered during business hours to Fredericksburg Department of Social Services, 608 Jackson St., Ste. 100, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Please note that at this time our DSS cannot accept cash or donated goods. For more information about donating, please call 540-372-1032.
  2. Healthy Generations Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging has set up a Go Fund Me called “Help for Fire Displaced Madonna House Residents” which is online at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-fire-displaced-madonna-house-residents. All funds from this campaign will be used to help with  expenses and any other needs that the displaced older adults may have.

The community’s outpouring of support during this emergency has been tremendous. And as Christen Gallik, Director of Fredericksburg Social Services stated, “This is a marathon not a sprint. These are our people, people of Fredericksburg, and we will be with them to ensure they have what they need.”  

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May 18, 2022 - The City of Fredericksburg's emergency response to the May 16th fire at Madonna House is ongoing. Now in its second day the City's teams have shifted primarily to assisting the displaced residents. 

At the time of the fire emergency, approximately 60 individuals were evacuated to FRED Central Bus Station, which opened its doors as a temporary shelter during the incident. Most of the residents were able to return to their apartments later that evening or went to stay with family.  There were 34 individuals from Madonna House that were displaced and relocated on May 17 to the Clarion Choice Hotel in Central Park, Fredericksburg. Since that time, the Fredericksburg Department of Social Services (DSS) has been on site at the Clarion and have been working with many religious and community partner organizations to find alternative housing plans. Those organizations include, but are not limited to, the Continuum of Care, Micah Ministries, Healthy Generations and the American Red Cross.

Thanks to the incredible businesses and citizens who have already generously donated food and shelter these past 24 hours, our teams have been able to meet the residents' immediate needs. Area businesses that have supported this effort are numerous; notably including Best Western Fredericksburg, Wegman's, Chic-Fil-A, Wawa, and Juan More Taco. 

The current status of displaced residents is: 23 individuals will be re-housed with family, 1 was hospitalized (non-fire related), 24 residents re-housed or appropriately sheltered, and 10 will continue their work with the DSS and Continuum of Care team to find permanent living arrangements. 

Many of the displaced residents have lost all of their belongings. Members of our community who wish to help may do so by donating gift cards in any amount. Gift cards may be delivered during business hours to Fredericksburg Department of Social Services, 608 Jackson St., Ste. 100, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Please note that at this time our DSS cannot accept cash or donated goods. For more information about donating, please call 540-372-1032.

The Fredericksburg Fire Department and inspectors from the Department of Community Planning & Building continue to provide support at the incident scene, with plans to provide inspections and aid in re-opening some of the damaged apartments as quickly as possible.  The City thanks the management of the Madonna House for their work in recovery and rebuilding as well.

Many thanks go out to all of the first responders who provided mutual aid during the incident. Those organizations include, but are not limited to, Fredericksburg Police Department, Stafford County Fire and Rescue, Spotsylvania County Fire and Rescue, Fredericksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, Stafford County Community Response Team, Fred Transit, Fredericksburg City Schools, and Spotsylvania Animal Control. 

The City is very grateful for the support of all the community as we continue to assist the residents of the damaged building through the recovery process.

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