Jamie Ratliff, Jon Wardle
Hundreds of people came out to the American Legion in Manchester this weekend to help donate some money to help the 14 people who were left stranded following the massive Manchester Fire last weekend.
A benefit was held on Sunday night to help raise money for those who lost everything in a fire in Manchester last weekend and hundreds of people attended.
The community came together after a fire ripped though 805/809 Main St. in Manchester around 9 p.m., last Saturday night, destroying the entire building.
Residents kept pouring in for a pasta benefit dinner at the American Legion Post 102. Businesses, big and small, donated to provide food and more than $1,200 worth of prizes to be won.
"It just makes you speechless," said Deb Palmer, who helped organized the event.
Two businesses were destroyed and more than a dozen people who lived above them found they'd lost everything. The structure had to be demolished, which left an emptiness in the heart of downtown.
"We just looked at each other and we knew we had to do something," said Palmer.
Palmer and her husband worked to help their neighbors in need and since then, it's been a domino effect.
"We've been getting furniture donations and clothing. It's amazing," said Palmer.
The firefighters who helped put out the flames showed up to help again.
At their 125th anniversary dinner the night before, Fire Chief Ronald Russo passed his helmet around to the members of the 8th District Manchester Fire Department and raised $972, which will go to the victims.
"I can't imagine having nothing, and that's what some of these folks have right now is nothing. And whatever we can give, we'll give them," said Russo.
The event raised more than $5,000 in aid.
A fund has been set up at the First Niagara Bank.
Those who wish to help can send a donation to The American Legion Post 102 c/o Fire Victims Fund, 801 Main St. Manchester 06040.