Fundraisers, meal lines help support sober house residents following fire

A home operated by the Association for Sober Living at 174 N. Washington St. was torn down the afternoon of June 3, following a three-alarm fire. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
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By Max

Michael Hinson said that he’s usually so focused on his work as program director for the Association for Sober Living that he doesn’t always see the impacts to the community.

But since last Wednesday, the community has spoken through the establishment of three separate fundraisers as well as a meal delivery effort, all arranged within a day after a fire that destroyed one of the ASL’s homes at 174 N. Washington St. in North Attleborough.

I’m more focused on the guys coming in,” he said. “When I learned of the impact we’ve had on the community outside, it’s been such a learning experience for me.”

Rocco Maturo III, a former resident of the home, posted a GoFundMe page at 7 a.m. on June 3, seeking donations to help those impacted by the fire. As of this time, more than $18,000 had been raised, exceeding the goal of $15,000. On the page the Maturo wrote that he had first moved to the sober house two years ago, and that it had saved his life and the lives of many others.

This house has brought many broken men from rock bottom to strong, loving and honorable men today,” he wrote. “This house was full of many men trying to achieve the same. Everyone made it out safe but lost everything but what they had on.”

A page has been set up on the Meal Train web site for the Association for Sober Living residents, and in short order, donations have become so numerous that a request was made to hold off so that staff can sort through all that was delivered.

The home is one of three that the association operates, and the one at 174 N. Washington housed 10 residents, all of whom escaped the fire unharmed and have been transported to the two other houses, one at 180 N. Washington St. and another on High Street. Hinson said the sudden increase of residents at these locations hasn’t proven a strain on services.

We’re still functioning at the same level, we’re just minus one house,” he said.

Established 30 years ago, the ASL helps residents develop the sobriety skills needed to maintain a long-term drug-free lifestyle, according to the web site. The focus is integration into a structured living environment. Residents are assisted in utilizing a peer support system made up entirely of fellow addicts in recovery. Treatment focuses on helping the resident address his issues and “wreckage of the past” associated with drug and alcohol abuse. This includes interpersonal relationships with family, employers, as well as legal and financial responsibilities

The house fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3 and quickly consumed the building, as well as damaging the exterior of another home next door. The fire was brought under control by 6 a.m., but the damage was so severe that it had to be torn down later that day. Hinson said rebuilding is a possibility.

I’m thinking were going to rebuild there,” he said. “It’s still undecided.”