A rapid relocation and cleanup effort after fire at Marcus Garvey senior apt’s.

BOSTON, MA. – The fire began in the early morning hours. A discarded cigarette flared up and although extinguished in minutes, wreaked havoc on scores of lives. Fortunately what could have been a tragedy turned out to be no more than a monumental mess.

The overall effect of that one carelessly handled cigarette? Sprinklers and Boston Fire Department hoses saved the day, but water still inundated 34 apartments and hallways at the Marcus Garvey senior apartment complex in Roxbury. Many elderly residents suddenly found themselves in a jam.

Normally, in such circumstances, the resources of the Red Cross or Salvation Army would be brought into play. But Cornu Management, the long-term manager of the facility located on Fort Hill had a better idea. All displaced residents, the oldest a woman of 105, were brought to the Radisson Hotel.

Tom Cornu, president of Cornu Management and an executive with a hands-on philosophy, made the decision to provide Marcus Garvey’s seniors with immediate peace of mind and comfort. But he also knew elderly residents needed stability in their lives, wanting to return to their homes and be able to regain their sense of community as quickly as possible.

Water damage to possessions and household items had to be minimized, too. That’s why Cornu called Puritan Flood Restoration of Needham, Ma.

According to Tom Cornu, “Puritan saw the magnitude of the problem and the nature of the emergency and responded immediately. They were key players in getting us back up and running quickly.”

Within a few hours of Cornu’s call, Puritan had placed high-speed dehumidifiers and air movers in 34 water damaged residential living units at Marcus Garvey. Powerful extractors were put to work removing the moisture from 14,000 s/f of water-logged carpeting.

Within two days of the incident, most displaced residents were able to return. Within a week, the drying process was complete and all residents were back in their units.

“The biggest challenge was the sheer scope of the job,” said Paul Daniele, president of Puritan Floor Restoration. “Each apartment unit had to be treated separately, with its front door locked to preserve security. That meant deploying 34 separate dehumidifiers and 135 air movers on five floors. Fortunately, we had the manpower and equipment to meet the challenge.”

“We inspected the structure and tested for moisture with non-invasive metering devices in order to ensure the effectiveness of the drying equipment,” said Christopher Daniele, also a Puritan Floor Restoration principal. “Testing tells us where to work and when our work is complete.”

Under such conditions, walls and ceilings often appear dry but still retain moisture beneath the surface. “To not carry out complete structural drying is to risk rampant growth of mold and mildew,” said Paul Daniele. “Odor, loss of structural integrity, surface damage, and more can make residents’ lives miserable and add needlessly to restoration costs. That’s why we take special pains to ensure humidity
matches pre-floor dryness levels.”

Puritan Flood Restoration is one of the leading restorative drying firms in New England, successfully drying scores of flood-damaged residential, commercial, and institutional properties yearly. The company maintains trained crews of restorative drying specialists in a state of alert at all times.

Puritan maintains the largest ready inventory of structural drying equipment in New England. Real estate and facilities managers, insurers, builders, and private property owners are regular Puritan customers.

Boston-based Cornu Management manages not-for-profit and condominium properties throughout eastern Massachusetts.

Residential communities under its supervision include Mission Park, which it co-developed with Harvard University and The Hills At Mainstone, 1997 winner of the  Condominium of the Year” award from the Community Associations Institute.

Elderly residents of Marcus Garvey Apartments benefited from the caring attitude of Cornu Management, the quick response of Boston firefighters, and the effectiveness of Puritan Flood Restoration

Three on a match may be bad luck, but in this case, three organizations with a commitment to quality and effectiveness proved to be good luck indeed!

New England Real Estate Journal, P.O. Box 55, Accord, MA 02018 781-878-4540.