Community Rallies To Aid Family After Devastating Fire

Community Rallies To Aid Family After Devastating Fire
The Luzier family’s home is pictured on Monday after a destructive fire the night before. Submitted Photo

WHALEYVILLE – A fire Sunday night destroyed the home of a Whaleyville family.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday, fire companies from Showell, Berlin, Bishopville, Ocean Pines, Powellville and Selbyville responded to a blaze on Murray Road at the home of Andrew and Lora Luzier.  Upon arriving, they found flames emanating from the garage and second floor of the house.

While the Luziers and their children were not injured, a family dog did die in the fire, which took more than two hours for crews to control.

Within hours of the fire, community members were reaching out to see how they could help. Pastor Bryan Pugner began accepting donations at the Ocean City Worship Center, which the Luziers attend, while Steffan Webster, a friend of Lora Luzier, launched a Facebook fundraiser.

“When I got the news my first thought was what can we do to help,” Webster said. “We just did it to support a friend. This is what she would do for me.”

Webster launched the online campaign Monday morning with a goal of raising $5,000 — what he considered a lofty figure — to help the Luzier family. Within 24 hours, more than $10,000 had been raised. By Thursday morning, more than $27,000 had been raised. To find the online fundraiser page, simply search The Luzier’s fire Facebook.

Though his initial goal has been exceeded, Webster said he’d keep the fundraiser active. He pointed out that insurance claims would take time and wouldn’t cover everything.

“There’s going to be discrepancies and gaps,” he said.

Pugner said he learned of the fire Monday morning and was overwhelmed by the community’s concern for the family.

“People are so eager to help,” he said. “So much so that I was at the gym and people started handing me cash.”

He said that in addition to monetary donations, people had called the church offering places for the family to stay.

“Our community’s just been wonderful,” he said, adding that the family was doing as well as could be expected. “There’s a lot of support.”

At this point, he said the church was encouraging those who wished to contribute to the family to donate money and gift cards, as they could be used in whatever way the family might need them.

On Wednesday, Lora Luzier posted a message of gratitude to the community on her Facebook page. She said the fire started shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday and had destroyed their home. She said, “it’s hard to believe we survived.”

“We feel the love of an entire community. Words are hard right now, but the bottom line is you all have shown more love to our family than most people get in a lifetime. People are good and God is great,” she wrote. “Please continue to squeeze us in your prayers as we put the pieces back together emotionally. It still doesn’t seem real. We lost everything but each other and for that we are so grateful. The blessings of this community have kept us going and will never, ever, be forgotten.”

She also expressed appreciation to the emergency responders as well, saying, “Thank you to the first responders who loved on us and fought the blaze for two solid hours and searched for my missing dog like it was their own. And thank you to that precious firefighter that walked my soot covered purse down to me because you knew it would give me hope … Thank you to our parents, sisters, best friends, and complete strangers who stepped in to give us shoes, clothes, food, and hope. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts times a million for the messages, texts, phone calls, donations, hugs, visits, and every other basic necessity. Thank you to everyone that held us while we sobbed.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.