A weekend fire that left 24 people homeless has been ruled arson, according to Nashua Police.
"I will tell you that it's an open investigation, but that the Nashua Fire Marshal's office has ruled this an arson," said Nashua Police Lt. Michael Moushegian. He said police is following several promising leads.
Three of the nine apartments at 88 ¾ Palm Street suffered heavy damage in the three-alarm fire Saturday. The building is owned by Nashua Soup Kitchen.
Monday morning, Soup Kitchen board member John Fisher said cash donations are being sought to help with repairs and to assist residents in replacing items lost in the blaze.
"Shelter director Lisa Christie was meeting with staff this morning to talk about specific items that the public might be able to help out with, in addition to cash donations," Fisher said.
Fisher said many individuals and companies have stopped by to say they'd be sending donations, which is greatly appreciated.
"Money is still the best weapon against the displacement and discomfort these families are experiencing due to the fire," Fisher said.
Adding to the scramble at the Soup Kitchen today: It's food basket distrubution day for families served by the shelter who will be preparing meals at home for Thanksgiving.
"We're going to take a look at it this afternoon to see how things are going, and as we speak, there's a five-step plan going on right now for that building and for those folks," Fisher said.
He said he was hopeful that occupants of six of the apartments could be back in their homes before Tuesday.
Mayor Donnalee Lozeau had called the shelter Monday to offer her support.
"I'm sure the Soup Kitchen will be able to count on this community to be suportive and help them get through this tragedy," Lozeau said.
Donations can be made to: Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, marked for "Fire Victims," 42 Chestnut St., Nashua, NH 03060. Checks may be dropped off at the shelter between 9 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays.
Nashua Police are asking that anyone with information about the origin of the fire to leave an anonymous tip via the Nashua Crimeline, 603-589-1665.