NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — With the holidays around the corner, residents affected by an early November fire in West Ghent continue to need help rebuilding from the ashes.
Erin McCarty can’t say anything but thank you after she, her partner and her neighbors lost everything in an apartment fire earlier this month, but help is still needed for many as they continue to rebuild their lives.
“This is a time for humanity to come together and I think that’s important,” she said. “Not just during the holidays, but this is just a lesson for compassion, empathy, and gives the community a way to respond.”
A number of fundraisers have collected money for those impacted, including those from local Ghent restaurants and the Push comedy club.
Still, there are many challenges to overcome, from needing basic items, to finding a place to live.
“The first wave is just like, OK, getting people toothbrushes and clothes, and T-shirts, and underwear, socks,” she said. “Then the second wave is like OK, now we need to get like an apartment, and now we need furniture.”
McCarty lost her sewing machine and a bunch of fabric in the fire. It was a newfound hobby she turned into a small business.
Now, she’s sewing again thanks to the generosity of people around her.
“I made some masks and I’m going to work on a bag for the Neon Market and that’s about all I can do right now,” she said. “But it felt really good to be back at it again.”
She plans to advertise top 10 Amazon wish lists for her neighbors at the market.
With the holidays quickly approaching, she’s grateful for the help they’ve already received, but wants to remind people help is still needed during the season of giving.
“It’s unbelievable how much Norfolk has come together for these people, and for me,” she said.
She specifically wanted to thank Pixels, Public House, Benchtop Brewing Co. and the Veil Brewing Co. for already organizing fundraisers.
10 On Your Side reached out to the Norfolk Fire Department for an update on their investigation into what caused the fire and said:
After a lengthy investigation, it appears to be electrical in nature, and while the exact cause may still be undetermined, they have ruled out human conduct as contributing cause.Stephanie Ramsey, Norfolk Fire Department Battalion Chief
The Push Comedy Club in Norfolk will have another event on Dec. 2 to benefit those impacted by the fire.
The Greenway Court Fire Relief Facebook Group has information about the incident, who needs what and ways to help those impacted.