On Wednesday, April 19, a fire broke out at the Bellmore home on Judith Drive at approximately 5:30 pm for unknown reasons.

A nearby house was also on fire as it was engulfed in flames. Although volunteer firefighters from several neighboring areas were on the scene within minutes, two homes suffered extensive damage.

Shortly after the fire was extinguished, neighbors who lived across the street from the two houses set up GoFundMe fundraisers for each family (Lis and Rambarans).

“Standing in the living room and watching them look out the window and cry over the destruction of their homes, I think I will always remember that. It was horrible,” said Amy Werner-Sah, who launched the two fundraisers. Amy Werner Tsagouris told the Daily Voice.

The family – including mother Grace, father Max, Max’s mother, toddler and newborn – are reportedly safe.

Lis is preparing to open a bubble tea shop in town, Tsagouris said. However, when they stored the supplies at home, it was also destroyed by fire along with personal documents.

Now, they live in a small hotel room because their house is beyond salvage and needs to be completely demolished and rebuilt.

Likewise, the Rambarans were at home, Tsagouris wrote on GoFundMe, “and before they could blink, the house was on fire.”

A commenter on Li’s GoFundMe page wrote: “These are neighbors in need… Let’s help together!”

and help them.

In the first four days, the Rambaran fundraiser raised over $4,000, and the Zhang family’s event raised $10,300 ($300 more than their $10,000 goal) — a testament to the power of community.

“You know, two [the families] Being born into these families,” Tsagouris said. “So, for them, losing everything … it’s been an incredible thing to see how the community really relates to it. “

In addition to the GoFundMe donation, the community acted quickly, organizing a donation drive within days.

Although the drive was only two hours, Tsagouris said the community gathered enough supplies, toys, diapers and other items to fill their storage room for the families.

“We were surrounded by all kinds of stuff,” recalls Tsagouris, “and people were just hordes of toys with suitcases and boxes and bags.”

Even the chief of the North Bellmore Fire Department came and drove, she said, though “as if fighting the fire wasn’t enough.”

Tsagouris said the support was “spectacular”.

For now, both families are figuring out what to do next – but it’s clear that while they’ve lost a lot, they’re not alone. “We will do everything we can to help support them.”

Donate to the Li family, click here.

To donate to the Rambaran family, click here.

For any inquiries regarding coordinating in-kind donations, Amy Werner Tsagouris has posted on her Facebook page.

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