The fire in Sag Harbor on Friday ravaged buildings and closed businesses, but at least one man lost his home.
Fred Kumwenda lost everything when the blaze ripped through his second-story apartment in the Compass building on Main Street, just to the north of the Sag Harbor Cinema and to the south of Sagtown Coffee. Four apartments were involved in the fire.
April Gornik, an artist and North Haven resident who is very involved with the Sag Harbor community, organized an online fund-raiser to help Mr. Kunwenda get back on his feet. According to her post on Crowdrise.com, he works at the Highway restaurant in Wainscott. "Fred lost ALL his clothing, his laptop (which was a MacBook Pro), his beloved Takamine guitar, and of course his home," the description read, signed "Friends of Fred."
As of Saturday evening, $10,295 had been raised.
In an updated post after more than $4,500 had been raised, Ms. Gornik and Mr. Kumwenda's sister, Mbachi, wrote that they were all moved to tears by the support. "In the midst of all this tragedy, to have a community that steps up like this is just amazing."
Housing possibilities are being explored, and GeekHampton is arranging for a new computer.
Meanwhile, the Sag Harbor Partnership, a nonprofit organization that has been raising money for a possible waterfront park, is gearing up to raise money to help with rebuilding. In an email, the partnership said it is in a position to obtain tax-deductible contributions through its historic building fund. "Many of our well-loved small businesses were affected, and of course our iconic street front will need to be repaired."
The Sag Harbor Cinema was demolished late Friday and Saturday. The Compass building is also going to be demolished, and three other buildings were badly damaged.
To make use of the historic building fund, any potential recipients of the money — building owners or tenants — will have to convey a need and explain the restoration of their building in the application process, the partnership said.
Donations can be made through the partnership's website, or checks can be sent to the Sag Harbor Partnership, P.O. Box 182, Sag Harbor 11963, with "Historic Building/Fire" in the memo line. The direct link for donations can be found by clicking here.