Fundraiser Held For Victims of Johnson City House Fire
Mike Toro and Dalya Shears were away from home when they received alarming phone calls. Their residence – a multifamily home in Johnson City – had caught on fire.
But tonight, at Irish Kevins on Riverside Drive, an outpouring of support left Toro and Shears with hope for the future.
"By the time we got home and we knew that we just drove all that way and our house was engulfed in flames and our pets were inside – I don't wish that feeling on anybody,” Shears said. “But luckily we have an entire community. Our family, our friends – just the support and love has been felt from near and far."
The family had lost two dogs to the fire, with other affected families experiencing the same. In total, nine Johnson City residents had been displaced, including five adults and four children.
At Irish Kevin's, friends of Toro and Shears had organized a fundraiser, complete with multiple bands, raffle tickets and food and drink.
"[We’re] just trying to have a good time, especially after this tragedy," Toro said.
Though thankful for the help, Shears said she hopes to see other affected families supported as well.
"We're well-known in the community – we have a lot of support and we are so forever grateful for that. However two other families also lost everything they own and they deserve to reap some of the benefits of this.”
Each family has a GoFundMe available online, seeking support for the difficult days ahead.
Shears said the tragedy was a reminder of the importance of fire safety.
"Check your smoke detectors, make sure that your fire escape is working, make sure that you're not blocking doorways, because how quickly an entire building can go down in flames is unreal,” Shears said.
GoFundMe links for affected families can be found below.