We speak to mother and displace tenant of recent Cochran Street fire, Ashley Cooley…

Local News

Over the weekend, two families losing everything after fire destroys their home.

Many were out having fun partying for St. Patrick’s Day, however, a fire in the 2600 block of Cochran Street, for two families, became their worst nightmare.

Saturday night, a devastating blaze ripping through a duplex. In its path, burning two families our of their homes. Now, a piece of charred remains stands as a ghostly reminder.

Neighbor Carol Palermo tells us, “The lady downstairs is a single mother, going to school, raising her children. The girl upstairs worked full time also a single mother raising her kids. They were beautiful people. “

Ashley Cooley is one of those mothers.  She lived inside the duplex with her kids, ages 12 and 13. 

Cooley tells us when the blaze began, “Fortunately, we were gone. We had just gotten back. When we got back, we… everything was basically in flames.”

Cooley, who is eight weeks from graduating from Mercyhurst University with a degree in occupational therapy and works full time, says the moment she came home was one word; devastating.

“Just like… everything I had. You know? My life, my home… the only place I could come home and find comfort; gone. It was very life-changing for me.”

And, taking a look at the house, you can see the devastation left by the fire. Fire Chief Guy Santone telling us it was a difficult one to fight.

“It is a total loss. I’ll get with the building inspector and go with there and see if it needs to be taken down or what they want to do with it.”

The other residents were not there to comment on the event, but Palermo says she hopes to see the Cochran Street Community unite to help these two affected families.

Cooley says her family is going to take it one day at a time as she finishes out school.

Currently, Cooley and her kids are staying with her parents. She says any donations are welcomed as they lost everything.

Click here to donate to the NWPA Red Cross, where you can select ‘Home Fires’ as a designation for the donation.

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