Pottsgrove Planned to House Fire Families if Needed

Pottsgrove school board members Tina McIntyre and Al Leach flank school district Superintendent Dr. David Finnerty (at top) during Tuesday’s board meeting

STOWE PA – Fire, ambulance, and police first-responders, West Pottsgrove Township Manager Scott Hutt, Pottsgrove School District Community Relations Director Gary DeRenzo, a team of school district employees, and the American Red Cross all won praise Tuesday night (April 12, 2022) for working to ease the distress of families displaced by an earlier afternoon fire on Old Reading Pike in Stowe.

District Superintendent Dr. David Finnerty offered his public thanks and congratulations to the group during the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ meeting. He reported how they collaborated with only a few hours’ notice to ensure about 15 people had warm, safe, and secure lodging and meals after a smoky fire forced them from their apartments at 313 Old Reading Pike.

DeRenzo said the district, after receiving a call from Hutt – who is a former school board member – was prepared to offer temporary shelter for those needing it in Pottsgrove High School’s auxiliary gymnasium, with its easily accessible shower and restroom facilities. The Red Cross agreed “to provide emergency services, food, sleeping cots” and other items, DeRenzo said.

Also involved in the quickly assembled group, he said, were representatives of the district’s busing contractor, CMD Transportation, and the district’s Facilities Department headed by newly arrived Facilities Director Yvette Young.

With plans in place, school personnel started preparing the accommodations. Ultimately, they weren’t used.

Trailers that the Red Cross had hoped to use to transport supplies could not be retrieved from another location, DeRenzo explained. As an alternative, Red Cross personnel distributed vouchers to those affected to pay for their stays elsewhere.

DeRenzo said he was unsure how many, if any, Pottsgrove students and families were among those displaced. Because “they never made it to the school,” he noted, “we were unable to identify if any of our students and families are affected.” He said he expected to learn more Wednesday as details became available.

Despite the outcome, DeRenzo added, “the positive was, it was a good practice scenario for us.”

Screenshot photo by The Posts, from a PCTV Network broadcast Tuesday night