WEST OCEAN CITY — The local community’s generous spirit was on display in a big way this week as hundreds gathered at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Tuesday for a fundraiser to help support a family displaced by a devastating house fire in West Ocean City in late June.
The fire that gutted a West Ocean City residence on the corner of Golf Course and Old Bridge roads was one of two going on simultaneously on Thursday evening, June 26. Around 7:05 p.m. on June 26, firefighters responded to a reported house fire on Riverview Drive in a subdivision outside Ocean Pines near Showell. First-arriving units found the large, two-story waterfront home fully involved with fire. The house was occupied at the time by the owners and no injuries were reported.
About 20 minutes later, a second fire was reported at the residence in West Ocean City. First arrivers found the rear exterior deck on fire with extension inside the house. The Ocean City Fire Department responded, along with fire companies from all over Worcester, Wicomico and Sussex County, Del.
The West Ocean City residence was occupied at the time, but no injuries were reported. However, the fire did result in the loss of two family pets. Almost immediately after the fire, the local community began to rally to support the West Ocean City family that lost nearly everything in the blaze. The Pusey family, including Jennifer and Brian, along with their two children, Ashley and Bailey, and a father-in-law, a nephew and the nephew’s girlfriend, lost everything in the fire.
The very next day after the fire, a Facebook page called the Pusey Family Fire Recovery was set up, directing the community on how to help the family in their time of need. Accounts were set up at the area Calvin B. Taylor Bank branches for monetary donations and well-wishers were also instructed on how to donate clothing, food, supplies and gift cards, for example. Family friend Christina Ager of the Mark Fritschle Group-Condominium Realty coordinated the early relief efforts in the weeks following the fire and a team of generous volunteers mobilized to create the fundraiser held at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Tuesday.
Hundreds turned out to show their support and make donations to assist the family. Local restaurants provided food for the function and other area businesses donated gift cards, baskets of various items and other contributions for silent auctions, raffles and other events. While it is uncertain at this point just how much was raised, the collaborative community effort will help jumpstart the Pusey family’s road to recovery.
“It was amazing,” said Jennifer Pusey this week. “This community is amazing. The generosity shown to us was overwhelming. It’s why this is such a wonderful place to live.”
Pusey said the family is still picking up the pieces after the fire, but the outpouring of generosity has buoyed their spirits and made life a little easier.
“Right now, everything is still kind of up in the air,” she said. “We have found a place to rent, which is a good thing. Every day is a better day.”
While the fundraiser at the Marlin Club on Tuesday was the high point of the efforts to assist the family thus far, it certainly is not the end and there are still several ways to contribute. For example, the Calvin B. Taylor Bank is still accepting donations for the Pusey family at any branch. In additions, contributions can still be made to Condominium Realty-Mark Fritschle Group on 62nd Street in Ocean City.