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Baltimore Recovery Center Fire Displaces Dozens of Residents

By Kelly Burch 11/22/16
Displaced residents are asking for donations to help them recover what they lost.
Baltimore Recovery Center Burns to the Ground

Being new to recovery is incredibly challenging, but some Baltimore residents are facing additional difficulties after their recovery center caught fire on Nov. 11, displacing dozens. 

Thirty-one residents of the Penn North Supportive Housing Program in Baltimore lost everything in the fire. Now, the program is appealing to the public to help get the residents back on their feet. Residents say that coats and blankets are the most needed items, with winter fast approaching. Donations are being accepted at the Penn North Kids Safe Zone at 1622 N. Carey St. in West Baltimore. Donations can also be made online

After the fire, the building was boarded up as residents struggled to understand the unexpected news.

"When you're just coming home and you're accumulating things and things happen, I know everything happens for a reason, but I'm still trying to grasp it a little bit," Steve Campbell, who had lived at the residence for 39 days at the time of the fire, told WBAL News.  

Campbell was in a recovery meeting when he learned about the fire. "I was in group, and I got a text saying the apartment's on fire, so I ran out and you could see the flames shooting out the window," he said.

Despite the shock of the fire, Campbell is still determined to make his recovery a priority. "I would like to be an addictions counselor. I would like to tell people my story," he said.

Another resident, Lakita Mills, said the clothes that she was wearing on Friday are now her only belongings. "The smoke, and then the water, it just messed up everybody's stuff," she said.

However, like Campbell, Mills is determined to push through the latest challenge. “I’m getting ready to take the recovery coach class in January,” she said. “It has a lot of stuff that will better your life, especially mine.”

But before she can help others, Mills has to ask for help one more time. “Donate what you can,” she said. “For us ladies, we need things, just please just help whatever you can, food, clothes, everything, everything. It would be highly appreciated.”

Penn North Supportive Housing Program could not be reached for comment, and it was not clear where the residents are now living or what may have caused the fire. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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