Norfolk business raises money for families displaced in West Ghent fire

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been about two and a half weeks since a West Ghent apartment complex was severely damaged by fire. Now, nearby businesses are collecting money to help the families who lost everything.

The three-alarm fire on Greenway Court forced several families out of their homes in the early morning hours on Nov. 1.

“Everyone in Ghent is so connected and we were really trying to think what could we do, what could we do? And we just thought that this would be the best way to help them,” said Maryellen Fournier, general manager of the Public House.

The connected community is supporting the 13 families who lost everything in an early morning fire. The entire building burned to ash.

“I was honestly just shocked,” Fournier said.

Fournier told 10 On Your Side the tragedy is too close to home. Some of the bar and restaurant’s employees lived at the complex.

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“Driving past it and seeing the damage and then seeing on the news how everything collapsed and they had to save people from the actual top floor, it just was really, really scary,” Fournier said.

That’s why her business will donate all of Thursday night’s proceeds to the families.

Kathy Wilson and Kim Tharp, who have lived in Ghent for years, live in apartments themselves close to where the fire happened and came out to support those in need.

“It’s just terrifying to see how it happened. How one apartment went and another,” Wilson said.

The fundraiser ends at the close of business Thursday.

“Every little bit counts but I know it’s going to take so much support from everyone to rally around these people that have just really, literally lost everything,” Fournier explained.

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