As smoke erupted from the furnace of their home, a Chelsea family of 17 was wrapped in coats and blankets Saturday morning, trying to shield themselves from the bone-chilling -4 degrees air.
Luckily, it was a brief battle with the bitter cold. With their partnership with a non-profit, the Chelsea Collaborative, the Chelsea police were able to welcome the family into their station. The displaced group spent several hours on Saturday hanging at the police station, eating food and watching animated movies.
It was the latest act from Chelsea police's HEART (High-risk Emergency Action Relocation Team) Program. According to Officer Jonathan Maldonado, it wasn't too long ago the family would've ben left to fend for themselves.
"That's the beautiful thing about this program," Maldonado said. "Prior to that, we have them contact any family, we're hoping they've got neighbors they know, anything like that but a lot of times they didn't have anywhere to go."
Officer Taisha Santiago told Boston 25 News that the program helps relocate victims from any crime- including domestic violence or fires.
"There are families that come here with no family and who they live with is all they have," said Santiago. "If something were to happen, they'd have nowhere to go."
We wanted to remove them from that situation and especially with that cold climate, wanted to get them in here and warm while we figured out what to do with them," said Santiago.
Although the smoking furnace forced them out of their home around 10 a.m., police say the family was very in high spirits while they spent the rest of the morning at the station.
"You can see the smiles in their faces, the kids are running around. All they felt was positive energy," said Maldonado.
The family, whose ages range from three to eighty, were eventually put up at a local hotel.
Police say the building's landlord helped pay for the five hotel rooms while the Chelsea Collaborative donated food, gift cards and supplies for their pet cats.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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