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Montclair Community Pre-K Teacher Loses Everything In Fire

Family members salvaged nothing but the clothes on their backs ... can you help?


 LaMonica Carter, a beloved teacher at the , lost all of her belongings in a fire on Mother's Day in Belleville.

Pre-K officials say that she and her four children are essentially homeless, having salvaged nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Indeed, the family had no renters insurance and lost everything they own.

Carter has been a teacher at the Montclair Community Pre-K for nine years and has touched many lives in the community, officials say.

The school is accepting donations on behalf of the family. Suggested items include: gift cards to Target, Shoprite or CVS, cash or other goods. Carter's children range in age from 8 to 14 years old and are the following sizes:

Girls size 8, women’s size 9/10, boys size 10; and boys size 18.

The school is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and can accept donations at the Front Desk, 49 Orange Road, 973-509-4500.

No one was home on Sunday at the time of the three-alarm blaze that grew so hot it melted the siding on the house next door.

Belleville firefighters responded to the fire on Harrison Street at 12:35 p.m. and saw smoke coming from the rear of the house, according to a report prepared by Fire Lt. Scott Wentworth. The two-story wood-frame home had two apartments on each floor and the fire burned throughout the first and second floors towards the rear of the house.

Carter and the other occupants were relocated with the help of the American Red Cross.

Belleville Fire Chief Robert Caruso said the five occupants were evacuated by firefighters and that the home was located near the Bloomfield border near Mill Street.

The fire was declared under control at 4:30 p.m. Sunday and emergency personnel cleared the scene at 6 p.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Richard A. Dickon contributed to this report.

Selma Avdicevic May 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Mrs. Carter was our son's teacher last year, and in my opinion, one of the best teachers MCPK has. She is soft-spoken, kind, and loving, always ready with a hug and a kind word. I hope you can find it in your heart to help.
Robin Hoffman May 17, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Ditto! Ms. Carter is a gem. Please bring Target, CVS, Shoprite gift cards and/or clothes in "Girls size 8, women’s size 9/10, boys size 10; and boys size 18" to the PreK to help this woman who's helped and loved so many of our kids.
Michelle Pepper Graf May 17, 2012 at 05:13 PM
There aren't enough words to describe Mrs. Carter's warm heart. My daughter could never get enough of her hugs. Please do all you can to help this family.
A. Whitney May 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Mrs Carter is one of the warmest people I know. Her love and kind spirit are both contagious. In these tough economic times, please do what you can for a VERY deserving teacher and her family!

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