"Destroyed" Families burned out of apartments finally get access to possessions after News10NBC story

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GANANDA, N.Y. (WHEC) — Families burned out of their apartments by a fire in Gananda called News10NBC after weeks went by and they weren’t allowed back in to try to salvage anything that was left.

Less than 24 hours after the first story by News10NBC, the families were told a contractor would go in for them. And we were with the families when the damage came out today.

Tina Loucks tossed a picture frame to the ground. She held what it once covered in her hands.

"It’s a handprint for grandparent’s day that my grandson made me," she said.

Loucks’ apartment and about 10 others were destroyed when a fire ripped through the attics on July 9. For weeks, everything she owned was soaked and sitting in sometimes sweltering heat. When every request to go in and get her possessions was denied for safety reasons, she called me. I reached the vice president of the property management who promised to get something done in two weeks.

It happened in one.

But since the fire, the damage got worse.

"Destroyed," Loucks said pointing to one of her cabinets. "Literally destroyed for sitting in an enclosed environment for 25 days."

There is mold on her cabinets.

And dressers.

And couches.

And shoes.

"If they had let us in within three to five days like normal people are let in none of this would be in this condition," she said.

Not everything was lost. Loucks put some of the most precious things saved in her car including her cat’s ashes.

"Here’s my cat’s ashes," she said dusting off the wooded urn. "Clean it up but at least he’s back with me."

When I talked with the property management they said the fire and the delay in getting inside was a tragic thing.

They said the source of the delay was getting all the insurance companies to sign off.

After two weeks of nothing, that came together almost immediately after our story.

The cause of the fire was a discarded cigarette.