Fundraisers launched for residents affected by devastating fire

An online fundraiser has been launched to assist victims of a vacant house fire that spread to neighboring homes in Richmond on Thursday night.

Residents from both homes damaged by the 7 p.m. fire on Fourth Street near Pennsylvania Avenue “have lost everything they own.” The blaze jumped from the abandoned property to the two neighboring occupied houses, damaging both to the point that they were red-tagged and deemed uninhabitable.

The three residents in one of the homes are all teachers at Lincoln Elementary School: Elora Henderson, Marco Villanueva and Jesus Galindo.

“A big section of their home was destroyed by the fire. What was left was damaged by smoke and water, which has left them with nothing,” according to a gofundme.com fundraiser launched for the teacher trio. “Even though they have lost everything they own, they are so grateful for what you can contribute….We are asking for your help in supporting these educators regain some normalness to their days so they can continue giving back to the community they love so much.”

Those teachers aren’t the only ones who were left homeless by the fire. The other occupied home that was red-tagged is where the mother of Dannisha Mills resides. That home may have suffered even more damage, Henderson told us.

“My mom is still taking it hard because she lost everything in that fire,” Mills said. “Clothes, shoes, her furniture, televisions, food, her car. My grandfather had just got her new jewelry and her dinette set was partially new.”

Mills says her mother could also use assistance in this difficult time. Those wishing to donate should contact newstips@richmondstandard.com and we will put you in touch with the family. We will continue to update our readers on future fundraising drives for the victims of this fire.

The abandoned home where the fire began turned to ashes. It was abandoned as a result of fire damages years ago. Neighbors say the city failed to secure it from squatting and other illegal activities.