"Midnight, Midnight," Gelinas pleaded through sobs, while looking up at the burned-out shell of a house where for five months he and Pearson had rented an apartment.
The couple lost personal belongings and their female pet cat Midnight, who apparently perished in the Tuesday night blaze that quickly consumed the old three-story Victorian at
Despite the devastating loss, the
"It's amazing," Gelinas, 54 said, as he stood outside the charred and wrecked remains of what had been a 170-year-old house.
Gelinas was referring to having met
Both Gelinas, who suffers from depression and other disabilities, and his girlfriend, who is hearing-impaired and has undergone cochlear implant surgery, collect social security disability payments.
Dunn, who lives in
Gelinas and Pearson had taken a
They explained to Dunn that they were about to run out of money and had not yet collected their security deposit from their landlord.
Dunn said she didn't hesitate in offering to pay the first month's rent for the couple's next apartment.
"I felt compelled," she said. "What else are you going to do? They're not going to go out on the streets."
Dunn said she made a call and found out that an apartment in
Geary said she had heard about the difficulties Gelinas and Pearson were facing through social media.
She says he had her old cell phone reactivated so that Gelinas could use it through the end of the month.
Gelinas said his personal phone didn't survive the fire, which is being investigated by the
"That was unexpected," he said, referring to the generosity shown by Geary, who happened to be a perfect stranger.
Geary says she also has dropped off contributions to help other former tenants at the local
She said Pearson and Gelinas will be able to stay at the
Gelinas on Friday said he had not yet heard from his former landlord
The prospect of getting an apartment in
Gelinas says he and Pearson were in their third-floor apartment Tuesday night at around
He says a third-floor fire escape was positioned out of reach, which is why they ran downstairs to a second-floor unit where they kicked out a window screen and dropped to the grass below.
A total of 11 people were able to safely make it out of the building, according to fire officials.
The office of the state's fire marshal is not yet involved in the investigation, according to a
Gelinas, however, says that while he was running inside the house to escape the fire he didn't hear the sound of any alarm.
He also said that it was common for residents, including him, to smoke cigarettes on the porch where the fire reportedly started.
Gelinas says he used his own ashtray whenever he smoked.
He also said the only entrance for tenants was near that side porch, which Gelinas said was engulfed in flames.
"I couldn't get out," Gelinas said.
He also said that the front door to the house was normally always locked.
"I heard a commotion and people yelling. I thought it might be an accident or road rage, but then I saw flames," she said.
DeSilva said everyone in her house was told by firefighters to evacuate.
She said windows, roof tiles and the side of her building facing the driveway were damaged by the heat.
"It looks like melted marshmallow," she said.
A sign is now attached to the front door of
The sign was posted by NEFCO Fire Investigations.
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