Benefit at mall for fire victims

A benefit will be held this weekend for the families left homeless following a 5-alarm fire Monday on Vine Street.

The New Hampshire Gateway Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Pheasant Lane Mall will hold a donation drive at the mall from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, for the 14 families – more than 30 people – whose apartments went up in flames, according to Ashley Pushkarewicz, the Red Cross’s emergency services director.

More than 125 firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours, as flames quickly spread from the first floor to the rooftop. No one was injured, and the Red Cross has worked since the fire to find them housing and other essentials, such as food and clothes.

A table will be set up at the bottom of the mall’s grand staircase next to the food court Saturday to collect donations and to distribute information about the disaster relief services the Red Cross provides, Pushkarewicz said.

You can also make a donation at the Red Cross Web site,

The Red Cross doesn’t accept non-cash donations, but contributions of food, clothing, furniture or other goods can be donated through Central Realty by calling 595-3363.