The local neighbourhood that surrounds the burned-out Pasadena Apartments has put together a formal fund to help its former residents.

The Durand Neighbourhood Association, along with Coun. Jason Farr of Ward 2, launched a fund on Wednesday for the residents of 27 Bold St. The historic apartment building was nearly destroyed by fire on Feb. 20, rendering about 30 people homeless.

The fund, which already has about $26,000, will be distributed equally among the 17 apartment owners, said Janice Brown, president of the neighbourhood association.

27 Bold

The fire started around 8 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Pasadena Apartments. It took firefighters hours to extinguish it. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

“That’s the only way to do it,” she said. “There are 17 families or residents who are getting this money.”

InterRent REIT, the company that owns the building, and CLV Group, the building’s landlord, kicked off the fundraising. The two companies, which also provided the tenants with gift cards, donated $25,000.

FirstOntario Credit Union also donated $500, the Durand association donated $300, and Farr personally pitched in $100.

“What a great start we’re off to,” Farr told the crowd at a media event.

Local business owners have been collecting money, including the Pheasant Plucker and Corktown pubs. This fund will give them a place to send the money, Farr said.

Ever since the high profile fire, residents have been asking how they can help.

“We’re probably two days too late in making this announcement because people have been so anxious to give,” he said.

Brown and Farr said they weren’t sure exactly what the residents needed. They’re just going to keep fundraising, and “I hope we can go above and beyond,” Farr said.

The Ontario Fire Marshal investigated the cause of the fire, which started in the boiler room. Even with a basement sprinkler system, the fire rose through the walls and burst through the roof, burning long into the night.

The property owner is examining whether the 1914 building can be salvaged. Because the building is designated as a heritage property, the city will approve any final decision to renovate or demolish, said Meghan House, cultural heritage planner with the city of Hamilton.

Donations can be made at any FirstOntario Credit Union, account 673606.