The five-alarm fire in Glendale that raged through the night of Saturday, June 24, and into early the next morning destroyed not only the Farmers Market grocery store, but also two apartment units above it, leaving the residents there with virtually nothing.
Now, members of the Glendale community are banding together to help the Habib and Vasile families who were able to escape their apartments above the store on Myrtle Avenue near 72nd Street with no injuries, but lost everything they owned in the fire.
A GoFundMe page was quickly set up in the aftermath of the blaze to help both the Habib and Vasile families regain some of the things that were lost.
The Habib family has two young girls, while the Vasile family has a young boy and a young girl. All four children are under the age of 10.
“The families have been displaced from their homes and lost all valuables including furniture, appliances, clothing, [and children’s belongings] that were all lost in the fire,” said Sanela Selmanovic, who created the GoFundMe page.
According to the GoFundMe campaign, the Albanian American Islamic Center of Queens (AAIC) owns the property that was affected. Neither family had renters insurance, so they have no immediate access to relief. The AAIC is working to raise money to help the families in their recovery.
As of Monday, June 26 — a mere 13 hours after the donation page was set up — $1,150 of the $12,000 goal has already been reached thanks to 19 generous donors.
“We appreciate any help we can get with this campaign,” Selmanovic said in the campaign. “We set the goal at $12,000 and are hoping to support each other and make a difference in the lives of people who could really use some help at the moment.”
All the proceeds from the campaign will go directly to helping the Habib and Vasile families.
If anyone is interested in making clothing, food or healthcare product donations, Selmanovic requests that they reach out to her through the GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/fire-takes-all-from-two-families.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce is looking to help the businesses that were affected by the blaze, the Farmers Market Deli and Grocery and Metropolitan Restaurant Equipment. Local businesses across Glendale are also acting as drop-off locations for clothing and other types of donations for the Habib and Vasile families.