A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help several small local businesses that were completely destroyed when a fire ripped through the 4000 block of Cambie Street early Thursday morning.
While five businesses were "destroyed beyond salvation," in the blaze, officials say other nearby businesses suffered extended smoke and water damage, as well.
On Thursday, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services Capt. Jonathan Gormick said the five businesses that suffered catastrophic damage "will most likely need to be torn down."
He added, "I can't see those buildings being salvageable."
Reports identify those businesses as a Pharmasave, the Copa Café, a medical clinic, YiFang Taiwan Fruit bubble tea, and a dry cleaners.
The online fundraiser is being organized by Rania Hatz, executive director of the Cambie Village Business Association.
"In addition to the expenses that the owners will face before insurance assistance is available, staff of these businesses will also need help. Cambie Village would like to help with these merchants and their staff with immediate assistance as needed," the GoFundMe's description reads.
Organizers say any funds collected will be distributed "on an as-needed basis" to any impacted business owners and their staff. "All requests will be collected by our office, vetted by a subcommittee of the Board, and then funds will be dispensed," the description explains.
"We recognize that businesses will be receiving assistance from their insurance providers. These funds are to assist with more urgent needs and / or requests that may not be covered by insurance. Example: a waitress who needs to pay her car insurance next week, but won't be getting paid or tips; and we know any EI applications can take a few weeks. Another example may be that a server cannot pay for her daycare next month since she's out of work, but not yet eligible for EI.
"These are just two examples. We are open to helping all affected parties as needed."
To date, the fundraiser has raised $5,700 of its of $25,000 goal, with several donors taking to the comments section to leave notes of gratitude to impacted business owners for years of great service.
In a comment posted to the GoFundMe page, Michael Jakac-Sinclair said that his mom's store, a Pharmasave location, was among the impacted businesses.
"That store was the little engine that could for 15 years. It put me through private school, university, exchange, high-level competitive swimming, and all the privileges I was honoured to have," Jakac-Sinclair wrote.
"Thank you to the Cambie community for filling your prescriptions at the store or if you were just visiting Mina, you were indirectly supporting the dreams and aspirations of my sister and I. Nelli is determined to be business as usual for the time being she will be relocated temporarily at the Pharmasave on Main & 30th. She has re-wired the old pharmacy’s work line to a cell phone and you can still reach me at 604-873-9277. They [d]eliver also!"