BOSTON – Today Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, along with Congressman John Tierney, praised the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for moving quickly to make low interest loans available to those affected by the massive fire that ripped through a Peabody apartment complex last week, and urged affected homeowners and small businesses to apply for assistance. Kerry, Kennedy and Tierney sent a letter earlier this week urging the SBA to assist residents of Peabody who were affected by the fire.

“There’s help available for the families and businesses who have suffered after the fire in Peabody,” said Senator Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “The SBA deserves credit for responding to this incident so quickly, and I will work to ensure that everyone who has been affected by this fire gets the help they need to get back on their feet as soon as possible.”

Kennedy spokesperson Melissa Wagoner said, “It’s great news for Peabody. This well-deserved assistance will help many more residents get back on their feet after this devastating fire last week.”

“We are thankful that the Small Business Administration provided these low-interest loans, which are critical to helping residents and local businesses recover from this awful incident. It is an appropriate and timely response in a time of tragedy for our Peabody neighbors. I will keep working with Senators Kennedy and Kerry to help those who were affected," said Congressman John F. Tierney (D-Salem).

Affected residents can go to the Torigian Community Life Center, at 79 Central Street, in Peabody to apply for disaster assistance from the SBA. The center will be opening Tuesday, June 10, 2008. Individuals and businesses unable to visit the Center in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling toll free (800) 659-2955, (hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877 8339), or by emailing the SBA’s customer service center at

Last month, Congress enacted into law legislation authored by Senator John Kerry to improve and expedite financial assistance to businesses and homeowners devastated by disasters. Since 2003, nearly 1,700 Massachusetts residents have received over $64 million in low-interest loans from the federal government after a disaster – including floods, fire and drought.