BOSTON – Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, along with Congressman John Tierney today urged the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration to immediately make low interest loans available to those affected by the massive fire that ripped through a Peabody apartment complex last week.

Governor Deval Patrick officially declared the site a disaster area earlier today, paving the way for Kerry, Kennedy and Tierney to push for federal low-interest loans.

“The victims of the Peabody fire, whose lives were turned upside down, deserve our immediate help. By providing low-interest federal loans, those who lost everything can begin the process of getting back on their feet in the quickest possible way. Senator Kennedy, Congressman Tierney and I will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure that homeowners and business owners are given every chance to pick up the pieces and rebuild,” said Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Kennedy spokesperson Melissa Wagoner said, “We must do all we can to help the victims of this devastating fire resume their lives. Providing these loans is an essential first step.”

“Providing these low-interest loans is critical to help residents and local businesses recover from the huge fire at Peabody’s Highlands at Dearborn complex. I will keep working with Senators Kennedy and Kerry to help those who were affected," said Congressman John F. Tierney (D-Salem).

Last month, both the U.S. Senate and House 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.

To read the full text of the letter that was sent to Administrator Preston, please click here.