Jesup citizens look to rebuild after devastating fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Jesup citizens look to rebuild after devastating fire

JESUP, GA (WTOC) -

The fire in the downtown district in Jesup hurts those businesses affected, but it also hurts loyal customers, and plenty came out on Tuesday.

Some citizens spoke on Tuesday, and they said this fire is devastating to the downtown community.

The store fronts aren't just shops or businesses. People pointed across the street to the shops ravaged in the flames and referred to the owner more than the store.

It hit this close knit community especially hard, but they're already looking for ways to help them reopen.

"I worry because that's more than their job," said Lisa Flowers. "It's their live, their livelihood, and it's their job."

"We're going to bring the Labor Dept. in and we're going to talk about rebuilding these mom and pop businesses because that's what these are," said Jesup City Manager Mike Deal.

On top of these individual businesses, this fire was a moral blow to downtown Jesup. The street serves as the center of Jesup's annual Archfest, and at the annual Christmas parade, this is where Santa stops and meets the kids.

The city had just recently finished new sidewalks and streetscapes on both sides. Besides the local stores, there was also a store that's helping countless families change their lives.

The owner said she's not giving up the cause, even after this horrific fire. The Fair Haven Market already has a temporary home.

Fair Haven Director Market Director Julia Burch got the call about a fire last night, but she could never have imagined what she found.

"When I was four miles from here, I saw the flames and billowing smoke from downtown," she said.

The market was a consignment shop that helped fund the local domestic violence shelter. Burch said she's been told the fire started in an air conditioner on the roof of her building.

"It was bad enough that it got Fair Haven Market burning down, but to see all my neighbors, a church, the computer store, the animals next door," she said.

She said a shop owner up the street will let them move in temporarily, and people still want to donate. While Fair Haven has been helping battered women and children, she's grateful how the community is helping the market reopen.

"When somebody sneezes, everybody's pulling out a Kleenex," she said. "When there's a death in the family, we all cook food for them."

She said the store will be moving into the old Berry Patch Building on Cherry Street, and they'll accept furniture and anything else those families need to start over.

If you'd like to donate, The Fair Haven Thrift Store is now accepting donations at 256 S. Brunswick Street. They need clothes, household items and furniture.

The Downtown Development Authority is also collecting monetary donations. Checks can be made out to the DDA Fire Fund at any Suntrust Bank, or you can take the check to the Jesup Chamber of Commerce.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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