Castle Apartment Fire Survivors & Supporters


Castle Apartment Fire Survivors & Supporters

This group is for the displaced residents of the Castle Apartments from the fire on August 4 2009 and all of their supporters.

Location: Albuquerque, NM
Members: 22
Latest Activity: Jan 13, 2010


As a former resident of the Castle Apartments on 15th and Central, I have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers since a fire ravaged our building on August 4, 2009. I also know that there are many folks who are willing to help out the 30-odd displaced tenants, but they don't know who to contact about donations.

It is my hope that this group will help facilitate connecting potential donators DIRECTLY with the victims of the fire. While many of the residents still do not have internet access (or their access is extremely intermittent), I and other connected former tenants are able to contact directly most, if not all, of the other victims.

The tenants are meeting in person every few days to exchange information and help each other out as best we can. We have had a significant turnout, but not all of the residents came to our last meeting. If you are a displaced tenant of the Castle Apartments who does not know the date, time, and location of our next in-person meeting (or you know someone who fits this description), please backchannel me.

And a big thanks everyone for your concern. It will be a long, difficult process for all of us to put our lives back together, but with the help of those who are willing to support us as they can, we don't have to go through it alone.


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Comment by Burque by Choice on September 3, 2009 at 5:49pm

Went through the place today, my salvage day. Took some flower pots, some vital documents, an old bolo tie that belonged to my father's father, two rusty computer hard drives, and some water-damaged photo negatives.

Mrs. Snead let me take a singed brick from my bedroom.

Oh, I also found a bird feeder from my place, which had fallen onto the courtyard grass. I rescued that, too, and hope to feed the area birds again this winter.

I've since showered, but I can't seem to get the smell of burn out of my nose.
Comment by bg on August 18, 2009 at 10:05am
Michelle, you are correct. I used pdf not thinking that there are other formats, which are all fine, we can print them out or take written descriptions of what is available. We simply do not have the capacity to store furniture at the site. And we can save other resources like gas, by picking up furniture and delivering it directly to people at their new places. Further, if there are large items that are not useful, we will not be piling them up at the donation/distribution center.

Everyone is at a different place in terms of moving forward. Some are still in temporary locations, some are just looking now, some have new places, some are not able to look at all right now for another place to live and are staying with friends and relatives.

We have modified our wish list this week. Right now we have plenty of sheets and towels and a lot of clothing to sort, so we are hoping not to get a lot more soft goods until we can distribute some of it.

We are still in need of kitchen stuff--dishes, glasses, silverware, and utensils (mugs are not needed) plus kitchen towels and small household rugs. We also need small appliances for kitchen and bath, plus lamps, radios, TVs, converter boxes, and misc. electronics. We still need household tools, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, tape measures, that sort of thing.

We need full and queen mattresses, but again, if we could match people with donors and arrange to pick up and deliver to new homes, that is what we have to do, if at all possible.

Thanks again to everyone who is helping. There are lots of efforts large and small that have been ongoing, including dedicated volunteer efforts on behalf of animals. There is one outdoor cat that we hope is still in the neighborhood and two birds that have not been seen. The birds were not caged and may have been able to get out of the building. One cat was rescued from the building on Sunday, and one was found yesterday that died in the fire. We are all very sad for this loss.

We will accept donations on Saturday morning from 10-noon. Thank you all.
Comment by Michelle Meaders on August 18, 2009 at 9:39am
Thanks for doing this! I was wondering where to take stuff for them, or arrange to have large items given directly, now or later.

Maybe people don't need to make a .pdf of of a picture of furniture. There are other picture formats that don't require expensive software and are pretty universally handled: .jpg and .gif, or even .bmp, for instance.

There is so much good used stuff in circulation at thrift stores in town! Maybe people could donate gift cards to their favorites, or convince some to offer discounts to people who can show they lived in those apartments.
Comment by bg on August 17, 2009 at 8:32am
Jennifer and others, we now have an e-mail account. If you have the capability of sending a pdf of furniture, we can print and post for tenants. We do not have the capacity to move and store a lot of furniture, so if people can either send a list of what they have (or photos) we will post it with contact info. We can then make arrangements to pick it up when it has another "home."

Please send the info to

The tenants do not all have access to their e-mail as their computers are gone. Many have not been able to move to another place, so they don't have anywhere for furniture to go yet. This is a process, and everyone is at a different stage of managing the crisis.

If people can use the e-mail to list what they have or send photos of it, we will do our best to re-distribute it. Thank you so much for your generosity.
Comment by dolores on August 17, 2009 at 8:28am
I dont think the small stuff will be a problem. Bigger items like the dresser, it would be best for me to post the description and size on our wall message board. If you can give or email a photo that would be best. Then as the Castle fire tenants come in they check the message board to see if something is posted that they want. Then we help make arrangement for pick up. We do not have room for storage of really large items
Comment by dolores on August 17, 2009 at 8:22am
Jennifer Yes we are doing pick ups of some stuff. What part of town do you live in?
Comment by Jennifer Salinas on August 17, 2009 at 8:10am
I have a couple of small nightstands, a dresser, maybe some trashcans and lamps that I would like to donate, but I don't have a truck to get them over to the dropoff station. Is there any sort of pickup going on?
Comment by bg on August 16, 2009 at 9:35pm
I will echo Dolores and say that it was a pretty good day.

The best news of all is that another cat has been found alive at the building and was rescued today.
Comment by dolores on August 16, 2009 at 8:52pm
I wanted to thank everyone who dropped off donations today. We got some great stuff. A few of the residents showed up too and were able to pick up some much needed household items for their new places. I think they are still very overwhelmed and in a state of shock, but there are signs that things are slowly coming together and it was such a joy to see them find things that they really really needed and for them to see that the community is concerned about them and want to help.
For now I think we have enough sheets and towels.We could use more quilts as cooler nights are just around the corner. Thats hard to believe as hot as it was today! If you have big furniture or electronics let us know because we are keeping a list of big stuff and posting it on the wall of the storage POD so people can check to see whats available. If you can give or email us a photo of larger items that would be even better.
I was asking the former residents if there were any things they could think of that were needed that we dont have yet and the answer was bookshelves, dining or kitchen tables and chairs. So check your attic's and garages for larger furniture. TV's and converter boxes also
Some other small stuff I thought we could use more of are Lamps Shower Curtains,Bath Mats, Small Tools(tape measures, hammers nails, screw drivers) Brooms Dust Pans Mops Buckets. Also more cool&cold weather clothes Sweaters Jackets Socks Gloves Coats, winter stuff. We could use a few more kitchen appliances like Toasters Toaster Ovens Coffee Makers.
Sharp knives and cutting boards.
We will have another POD tomorrow and will be opening them for the former residents to stop by and pick up whatever they need at 5:00 pm and if anyone want to drop off donations, especially some of the things I mentioned. Lets help these people get there lives back on track.
I am just going to repeat this, there were no children that lived in the building so kids stuff is not needed.
I will keep updating as to what we need more of
Comment by dolores on August 15, 2009 at 12:30pm
I think light bulbs and shopping bags would be also useful. I know I have found shopping bags to come in handy when I have moved to a new place and furniture has not arrived I have used them for clothes storage and linen storage. Now that we are all going green and trying to cut down on plastic bag use ,we seem to accumulating them.

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