Fundraiser launched following Elm Street fire in Greenfield

Firefighters extinguish a fire that scorched the rear of a two-family residence at 20 Elm St. in Greenfield on March 13.

Firefighters extinguish a fire that scorched the rear of a two-family residence at 20 Elm St. in Greenfield on March 13. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News

Published: 03-21-2024 2:56 PM

GREENFIELD — Kayla Boyer has started a crowdfunding campaign while she awaits repairs to be completed at her 20 Elm St. apartment, which was badly damaged in a fire on March 13.

The goal of the GoFundMe campaign is to raise $5,000, not only to cover temporary housing costs, but also to buy clothing, diapers, food and toys. As of Thursday afternoon, $190 had been donated.

“It’s a lot of things to cover,” Boyer said. “My mind is so busy, everything hasn’t set in yet.”

Boyer and her 2-year-old son, Ezra, are now living in her mother’s home in Warren. She said she hasn’t been to her apartment since the fire, due to the fact that Warren is more than an hour away from Greenfield. Boyer was initially told by her landlord that they would be able to return a couple weeks after the blaze. Now, she’s been told it could take “quite a few months.”

“I’m very stressed — just really tired,” said Boyer.

According to Jake Wark, public information officer with the state Department of Fire Services, the fire was investigated by the Greenfield Fire Department and State Police assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“They determined that it was accidental and started outside along the right side of the building,” Wark said. “The most likely cause was improper disposal of smoking materials. This is a fact pattern that starts to rise in the spring, as people step outside to smoke. It’s important to fully extinguish smoking materials because even a small ember can ignite dead grass, leaves and twigs outside. Use a heavy ashtray and put it out, all the way, every time.”

The fire at the two-family residence on Elm Street resulted in extensive damage to the rear exterior, but no injuries to residents.

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Fire Chief Robert Strahan previously said when firefighters from Greenfield, Turners Falls, Deerfield and Northfield arrived, they saw an extensive fire on the rear exterior porch extending into the building.

Boyer, who lives on the second floor, said she was in her room with Ezra when the fire started. Although she said she smelled “something funny,” she could not hear the alarm and only realized there was a fire when a Berkshire Gas employee got her attention outside her window.

Boyer said the experience has been very difficult for Ezra, since all of his possessions are back at the apartment and his routine has been disrupted. Along with the money raised, one person collected clothing and toys.

“It’s nice to know that there are people willing to help you in a time of need,” Boyer said.

Those who are interested in donating items to the Boyer family can reach Kayla at kaylaboyer30@gmail.com.

Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@recorder.com or 413-930-4074.