By Ken MacLeod

LOWELL (CBS) – On Branch Street in Lowell, there were candles and prayers from friends and neighbors of those who died in an apartment fire Thursday morning.

As seven Buddhist monks chanted for the seven lives lost at the fire, some who turned out for the vigil sobbed, while Lowell’s sizable Cambodian community pledged support for the survivors.

Monks at scene of fatal Lowell fire. (Photo by Jim Smith)

Monks at scene of fatal Lowell fire. (Photo by Jim Smith)

“We’re not about going to counseling,” said Rady Mom of the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association. “But we are about helping others, heart to heart we step up whatever it is they need, and that’s just how it goes.”

As the somber crowd grew and a donation box made the rounds, it was pretty clear the fire shocked the soul of the city.

“It’s overwhelming, but this is what the City of Lowell is about,” Mayor Rodney Elliott said. “This is what we do, we come together.”

Some Lowell residents who never met the victims also came out to show support. “I just wanted to say a prayer for them and let their families know that we all love them,” Michael Renaud said.

Blocks away from the fire scene, the Red Cross was accepting donations of food, clothing and stuffed animals for survivors.

Donate: Lowell Fire Victims Fund

Donation bins were also set up at the Lowell Spinners game Thursday night.

“I’m a nurse and I know how bad the fire was this morning, and I just really wanted to do a little bit to help somebody,” Spinners fan Anne Tetrault said.

A memorial service for the fire victims will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Glory Buddhist Temple in Lowell.



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