PHILADELPHIA – The evacuation shelter that was opened at West Philadelphia High School in response to Monday’s five-alarm fire in Overbrook remains open while city agencies and non-profit partners continue effort to assist displaced residents find longer-term housing.
On Friday, the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will host a resource center at the shelter from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm with the following agencies offering the following additional services:
- American Red Cross – disaster survivor recovery casework and support
- BenePhilly – benefits eligibility and replacement
- HIAS PA & Nationalities Service Center (NSC) – replacement visas and green cards
- PA Department of Health – birth certificate replacement
- PA Department of Human Services – SNAP benefit replacement for food lost in the fire
- PA Department of Insurance – advocacy and support to insurance policy holders
- PA Department of Transportation – driver’s license and identification card replacement
- Philadelphia Corporation for Aging – senior citizen benefits and housing information
- Salvation Army – disaster survivor recovery support
Displaced residents from Monday’s fire are encouraged to seek assistance, services, and official updates at the shelter.
Those looking to support those affected by the fire can donate to the nonprofit partners who are helping survivors in the aftermath. No cash donations or emergency supplies will be accepted at the site. Instead, the City of Philadelphia encourages residents to donate cash and supplies to charitable organizations. Cash donations allow for greater flexibility for non-profit partners in providing disaster survivors with their specific needs. More information about how to donate can be found here.
OEM coordinates daily briefings between city agencies, non-profits, and affected residents at West Philadelphia High School, which is serving as a shelter for residents who are in need of short-term housing. Residents receive updates on housing and health needs along with progress of the fire investigation.
L&I emergency services inspectors are assessing the structural integrity of the building. They were able to access the first and second floors, but issues with water and ice impeded further evaluation of the property.
There is no determination on the cause as the Fire Marshal’s Office investigation continues.
Currently, there are 35 displaced residents in need of temporary housing who remain at the shelter opened by the Red Cross and OEM.
The following agencies are providing continued support to the evacuation shelter as well:
- Salvation Army – meals and refreshments
- Medical Reserve Corps – intake and health screenings
- Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual disAbility Services – mental health support
- School District of Philadelphia – facilities support
Pets are welcome at all Philadelphia evacuation shelters. Yesterday, the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team concluded their search for pets reported by families in the fire building. All 12 have been accounted for. Three initially were evacuated from the building with their families. Four pets were removed by Red Paw responders. Sadly, five pets did not survive. Red Paw is caring for four cats at this time. Pet owners concerned for their animals can call Red Paw’s emergency line 267-289-2729.
Red Cross caseworkers will continue to assess the future needs of those displaced. Partner agencies will work to find longer term housing options for all those affected. Red Cross help line is activated for anyone who needs help after this fire: 1-800-42-CROSS. Longer-term housing options are being explored by organizations such as the American Red Cross and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services.
For official updates from the City, follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or find them on Facebook, and YouTube.
Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov; @PhillyPolice; and @PhillyFireDept.