Puerto Rican families displaced by apartment fire seeks help

Fire destroys Allegro Palm Apartments
Posted at 10:27 PM, Jun 16, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- Support groups are coming together to help Puerto Rican families who were displaced by a massive apartment fire.

“We saw the smoke. This big huge black smoke,” Arelys Gomez said.

Wednesday night there was a fire at Allegro Palm Apartments in Riverview. Authorities said more than 100 people were displaced by the fire. Luckily no one was injured.

“That’s when we heard the neighbors screaming about the fire and that’s when we (got) out,” Jorge Ortiz said.

Somos Puerto Rico Tampa is working with Missions of Miracles, reaching out to nonprofits and trying to find resources for the Puerto Rican families impacted by the fire.

“Right now they’re making a list for me of the things that they need. What their sizes….shoe sizes (are and) all that so that I can start working with the community. So we can get them the things that they need,” Jeannie Calderin with Somos Puerto Rico Tampa said.

Ortiz said he may send his kids to Puerto Rico for the summer until he and his wife find a place to live.

“It’s been a nightmare ‘cause we’ve been like driving all the time and trying to get some clothes,” Ortiz said.

Gomez and her family relocated to Tampa after Hurricane Maria.

“Our plan was yes (to) move here (and) start a new life,” Gomez said.

Now they are starting over again.

“It’s like the first time that we’re in this situation that we really, really, really need help,” Gomez said.