Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the Perryman Village housing development in Brunswick on June 11. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

Fundraisers and a donation drive have been established to help five Brunswick families whose apartments burned down in a fire earlier this month.

The June 11 fire at the low-income Perryman Village housing development started accidentally while a woman was cooking in her kitchen, according to fire Chief Ken Brillant. The blaze burned down her unit and four surrounding apartments.

John Hodge, executive director of the Brunswick-Topsham Housing Authority, which owns the development, said people can drop off donations at the development’s community center at 51 Perryman Drive.

“We have also been suggesting if they want to contribute money that gift cards are a good way to help them out so they can purchase what they need,” Hodge said.

Some of the families have set up GoFundMe pages.

“We lost everything,” Savannah Fitch wrote in her GoFundMe fundraiser, which as of Tuesday had raised about $4,600. “We are all in shock.”


She wrote she has five children and was forced to surrender the family dog after the blaze.

“The mental anguish is taking quite a toll on all of us,” Fitch wrote. “Our children are simply traumatized.”

She wrote a local church paid for a hotel for the family to stay at. Hodge said the rest of the families were staying with family members and they will be placed in other housing authority apartments.

Sandra Monteiro wrote on her GoFundMe fundraiser that she and her two children lived in their apartment for 17 years and lost everything.

“We are starting from scratch and asking for help to replace necessary items such as beds, blankets, (dishes) and clothing,” she wrote. Her account had raised about $900 as of Tuesday.

Shelby Martel wrote in her fundraiser she is a single mother to a 4-year-old.


“I lost everything and have nothing to start over,” she wrote. “We are just looking to get some help with getting money for necessities and furniture as we look to rebuild. … Words (cannot) describe the devastation this fire has caused or how much thanks I can give to anyone who is willing to donate and help.”

She had raised about $1,200 as of Tuesday.

Attempts to reach the three families were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The fire displaced about 20 people. The woman who was cooking was treated at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick for smoke inhalation and released.

The American Red Cross helped the displaced residents with clothing and temporary shelter.

The fire charred about half the building at 36-40 Perryman Drive. Brillant said firefighters prevented it from spreading to an adjacent building.

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