The American Red Cross is helping three adults in two families with emergency housing and food needs after a fire early this week at the city's beloved North End Irish tavern.
Middletown firefighters responded to a call of smoke coming from a third-floor apartment above Eli Cannon's Tap Room at 695 Main Street around 6:30 a.m. on Monday.
Tuesday afternoon, Eli Cannon's Tap Room owner Phil Ouellette said he was 80 percent sure the displaced tenants would be able to return Wednesday.
"The burned-out room has been inspected and cleared for the debris to be removed," he said. "At that point, electricians can isolate the power to that room and then safely get power to the other rooms."
Wednesday, however, Ouellette posted a status update for his Facebook "family" which indicated more work remained to be completed before the pub can reopen for business. His tenants returned home Wednesday evening.
"We will be closed on Wednesday August 21, as well. We cannot have power restored until tomorrow afternoon," Ouellette wrote. "We cannot begin cleanup until power is restored. It's all about the juice."
Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger said Monday the fire marshal hadn't fully determined the blaze's cause. On Wednesday, Ouellette alluded to what sparked the fire. "I'm positive that people should NOT burn incense then go out for coffee!!"
Ouellette keeps up with his loyal patrons on socials and as soon as the news of a fire hit the news, dozens of concerned posts were made by fans on Eli's Facebook page.
The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a family might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire.
American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge. For information, visit www.redcross.org.