Cohoes fire victims waiting for fundraising money

COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Thousands of dollars was raised after a massive fire in Cohoes, but the money still hasn’t been distributed to the victims.

In less than two months, around $100,000 was raised for the victims of the massive Remsen Street fire, according to Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse. But the money still sits in the bank.

“We lost everything,” Tina Biance said. “We have nothing.”

Biance’s home went down in flames at the end of November, but it remains hard to process.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it,” she said.

She’s getting by, but only with the help of family and friends.

“If I didn’t have friends to help step up, then I probably would still be homeless,” she said.

In December, people across the Capital Region rallied around the victims and held fundraisers at the bowling alley and local bars. The money raised went toward accounts established at the city’s banks, but to date, none has been dispersed.

“It’s taking forever,” Biance said. “That money could have helped us get situated.”

Mayor Shawn Morse said there hasn’t been a delay.

“The last fundraiser was just towards the beginning of Christmas,” he said. “You have holidays; you have banks closed.”

He said dispersing the money won’t be easy because the fire impacted several people in different ways. Some lost everything and others just had smoke damage.

“How do you quantify who should be entitled to it, how much they’re entitled to?” Morse said.

Morse is meeting with the city’s attorneys on Thursday to work out details, so the money can be distributed soon.

“Getting them their money is my first priority,” he said.

But it’s hard for Biance to believe because she feels forgotten.

“If they would reach out and make a phone call and say why they’re taking this long, I think I would be more understanding,” she said.

Morse said he hopes to have everything done in the next week or two.

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