With Laton House still closed, Nashua works to find housing for displaced occupantsBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
June 14. 2018 12:40AM
NASHUA — Officials are continuing to work with the landlord and residents who were displaced from a city rooming house after a Sunday night fire.
“It looks pretty good that everybody will be taken care of,” said Mayor Jim Donchess, who was meeting with different entities on Wednesday to ensure that there would be adequate housing for about 45 displaced occupants.
Although Sunday’s fire at the Laton House, 28 Railroad Square, was not extensive, the sprinkler system did create some significant water damage, according to Donchess.
“There is a lot of water damage and many parts of the building are soaked with water,” he told aldermen this week, updating them on the blaze.
The American Red Cross, Nashua Office of Emergency Management and the city’s health and building departments are working together to assess how quickly the four-story building can return to occupancy.
Donchess said the top priority right now is to make sure the people who have lost their home have a place to stay while the rooming house is temporarily closed.
Several of the occupants have been staying at Motel 6 or the Fireside Hotel, however Donchess said that efforts may need to be expanded to see if the American Red Cross or other agencies could provide some type of shelter space for the displaced families.
“As of now we have not opened a shelter,” Lloyd Ziel of the American Red Cross New Hampshire and Vermont region, said on Wednesday.
According to Ziel, the landlord is very concerned about trying to find places for the displaced occupants to reside; city assessment records indicate that the Laton House is owned by 28-34 Railroad Square LLC. If the landlord or the city are unable to locate space, Ziel said the American Red Cross is standing by and ready to assist.
His organization has already touched base with the estimated 45 occupants to offer financial assistance for food and other necessities, he said.
The fire, which is still under investigation by Nashua Fire Rescue, involved a mattress that was located in a room on the fourth-floor of the Laton House.
There was minor fire and smoke damage associated with the blaze, and two occupants received minor injuries in the fire.
According to fire officials, a large number of occupants had ignored the fire alarms and smoke detectors and had to be evacuated by firefighters.
Donchess said it is up to the landlord to take steps necessary to dry out and remove the wet materials in the walls and ceilings, which will be necessary in order for the building to reopen.
In the meantime, he said the city’s fire department will require that some safety improvements be made to the rooming house, including the separation of ceilings and floors to prevent fire from spreading.
Those improvements, according to Donchess, will likely be implemented over a period of time once the occupants return.