Early this morning, a fire broke out on a block of historic rowhouses on Woodlawn Avenue in Saratoga Springs. By mid-morning, the Saratogian and the Daily Gazette were reporting via reporters’ Twitter timelines that while no one had been hurt, the buildings are a total loss and will likely be demolished.
As reported in the local paper and confirmed by the New York Racing Association, those homes are rental units often inhabited during racing season by track workers, approximately 18 of whom are now homeless and who lost everything.
One of those workers, Derek Daye, said he and several other track workers have stayed in the houses for the last four or five years. They still have five weeks of track season ahead of them, but everything they brought with them from downstate was lost in the fire. (Saratogian)
NYRA is offering financial support to the victims of the fire, and the American Red Cross is helping to find them alternative housing. John Hendrickson has invited the affected workers to tonight’s backstretch dinner.
Donations of new (preferred) and gently used clothing; gift cards; pre-paid phone cards or pre-paid cell phones; and toiletries are being accepted Monday, Thursday, and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm at the backstretch Recreational Hall inside Gate 16 off Union Avenue. In addition, leads are sought on available housing.