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'Comfort Home': NJ First Responders Have House To Self-Quarantine Together

Work continues at the "Comfort Home" in Passaic.
Work continues at the "Comfort Home" in Passaic. Photo Credit: Comfort Home

First responders with the coronavirus in New Jersey who cannot self-quarantine at home will have a place to stay, thanks to firefighters and police in the city of Passaic.

Work this weekend continued on "The Comfort Home," a four-bedroom residence on a dead end city street that organizers say will accommodate up to eight first responders at a time beginning April 6.

The idea emerged as word spread of a city responder who couldn’t self-quarantine at home and had no other place to go.

Enter Boy Scout Devin Pellot.

Devin, 15, told his dad, Passaic Police Capt. Isabelino Pellot Jr., that maybe a home could be found where responders with mild symptoms who can’t self-quarantine at home could stay.

Fire Lt. Jason Ayala took it from there.

Ayala, who’s president Passaic Fire Officers Association, spoke with Mike Newell, a local real estate agent who knew of a vacant house under renovation the just might work

The owner, Bright Investors LLC, agreed and Ayala reached out to his colleagues.

"Mike [Newell] really made it happen, along with many people who donated time and materials and other essentials," Ayala said.

In law enforcement alone, nearly 700 police officers in New Jersey had tested positive for the coronavirus as of this weekend, State Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan said.

The home offers "an option to our members who may have family members in their home who may need to especially stay clear of the virus due to underlying health conditions," Ayala said.

"It'll be a safe place where members can be at ease and weather this unprecedented situation," he said.

Any local, county or state responders from throughout New Jersey who end up at The Comfort Home "need not worry about food or toiletries," the lieutenant said. "They will be supplied."

To do so, though, the organizers need donations of furniture, electronics, appliances and other essentials.

It’s easy for some to get caught up in their own needs when a crisis strikes, said Ayala, a 25-year department veteran who was born and raised in Passaic.

“This is all about what we can do for our brothers,” he said.

For information -- or to donate to the cause -- contact Ayala at (862) 668-2919 .

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