Kimberly McClure did not have to be in the North Bay to experience the devastation of losing everything you own in a fire.
On Sept. 28, a blaze that began at a vacant home on 4th Street near Pennsylvania Avenue in Richmond spread to both of its neighboring houses, effectively destroying three homes and rending them uninhabitable.
The home McClure, 45, was renting was among the three that were damaged. Everything she owned was inside it. The other affected home had housed three Lincoln Elementary School teachers, who also suffered massive losses.
Now, McClure is staying with her daughter Dannisha Mills, who has launched an online fundraiser to assist her displaced mother during this difficult time. The fundraiser, which seeks to raise $10,000 to get McClure back on her feet, can be located by clicking here.
“Luckily for her she managed to get away,” Mills said. “In that moment my mom lost everything. The hardest part was having to stand there and watch helplessly as everything she owned burned away. And then having the overwhelming sense of worries and sadness that come after.”
McClure is a longtime Richmond resident who has been living at the home that burned for seven years. She said she was sitting on the porch speaking with a girlfriend who came to visit when she caught a BBQ-type smell. Earlier in the day, she said she knew someone was inside the long-vacant, blighted home next to hers, as she could smell cigar smoke coming from it.
“I kept smelling that [cigar smoke] and my girlfriend came sat onto my porch, and it smells like someone is BBQing,” she said.
But then she saw black smoke, and finally a closer look through the front door revealed an orange glow. The fire moved extremely fast, McClure said.
“Too fast to get a water hose and douse my house. It was too fast,” she said. “It’s gone, everything. Nothing salvageable and it’s just devastating.”
As we reported in the past, a fundraiser has also been launched to assist the Lincoln Elementary teachers who also lost everything they owned in the fire. That home’s owner, Elora Henderson, says neighbors had been pleading with the city to address illegal activity at the vacant home for years.
McClure confirmed that, saying the vacant property has been a problem “ever since I been there.”
“The grass was taller than me,” she said. “I am 5-5.”