An empty lot marked the spot this week at 147-151 East  Merrimack St. on the corner of Fayette Street in Lowell where a building once stood containing the
An empty lot marked the spot this week at 147-151 East Merrimack St. on the corner of Fayette Street in Lowell where a building once stood containing the law office of Colleen Garry on its second floor. The building, which also had a jewelry store, Brazilian variety store, and Juan's Barber Shop on the first floor, was destroyed by a four-alarm fire on May 6. Sun photo/John Collins

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DRACUT -- Having lost everything in her Lowell law office in a four-alarm fire on May 6 that destroyed her computers, printers and client files, including several wills that had been stored in a safe that melted in the flames, state Rep. Colleen Garry is about to experience a second life event in May that she never expected would happen, the Dracut Democrat said.

A group of Garry's dearest friends, including retired Dracut firefighter David Martin and fellow attorney Tami Dristiliaris, are hosting a benefit at Lenzi's Restaurant on Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. to help the 19-year 36th Middlesex District representative and attorney raise the funds needed to re-establish her law practice.

"It feels very awkward to be on the other end of a fundraiser," Garry said. "I'm very grateful. I lost everything in the fire."

An empty lot marked the spot this week at 147-151 East Merrimack St. on the corner of Fayette Street in Lowell where the building housing Garry's second-floor law office once stood. The building had also contained a jewelry store, a Brazilian variety store and Juan's Barber Shop on the first floor.

Lowell Fire Department Public Information Officer Jennifer Mieth said there was nothing suspicious about the fire and it was considered accidental, probably caused by an electrical spark in the variety store on the first floor. There were no reports of injuries.

"Fortunately, I had taken a few client case folders home with me to work on (before the fire), so I saved a few.


But I lost a couple of computers. We were able to pull a couple of computers out (of the rubble) but the hard drives had melted -- plus the furniture, file cabinets, printers, a shredder and the safe."

Garry's office safe, holding the wills of several clients, melted due to the intense heat generated by the fire, destroying the safe's contents along with it.

"I was at the fire that day, standing by Immaculate Conception Church, about two and a half car lengths back, and I could feel the heat from the fire," said Garry, who had called the Lowell building her law office for 10 years.

"It was quite a strong fire, and though the safes were in the middle of the building, they just melted.

"I'm trying to track down all the wills that I had in there, by reaching out to clients and either getting copies of them or redoing the wills completely," she added.

Garry said judges and courthouse staff have been "wonderful and really reached out" to her in the aftermath of the fire, helping her get through a difficult time.

"When you have something that happens like this to you I'm seeing from a new perspective how people really do rally for you," said Garry. "What goes around comes around they say, and another one of the people that's been helping me out is Rose Buckley, who is (Boston Marathon bombing survivor) Roseanne Sdoia's mom, which is really remarkable."

Garry did not have a renter's insurance policy to draw upon, she confided to friends, including Martin.

"Colleen Garry has helped a lot of people in Lowell, Dracut, Tyngsboro and in many cases you don't even hear about al the actions she takes to help people out on a day-to-day basis," said Martin.

Martin said he'll never forget how Garry came to his family's aid when his mother fell ill with cancer.

"This isn't about making a political statement, it's about 'paying it forward' for a friend, and someone whose been a friend of the community, in her time of need," said Martin, who owns Creative Carpentry, a cabinet-making business in Dracut. "This could have happened to you, me, any one of us."

The Lenzi's benefit will include a comedy hour featuring Johnny Joyce, a 10-year Dracut resident also known as "Boston's Best Comedian," music and raffles, Martin said. The suggested donation is $10 each.

Follow John Collins on Twitter at johncolowellsun.