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More fundraisers sparked to aid victims of massive Vernon fire

GoFundMe campaigns have been launched for several businesses and one tenant who lost everything

Several fundraisers have been started to help those who lost their livelihoods in the devastating downtown Vernon fire Tuesday.

Greg Palmer and Melvin lived in a suite adjacent to the Okanagan Eatery which suffered catastrophic fire damage early July 4.

“Greg and his dog Melvin have lost everything and must start from scratch,” a GoFundMe reads. “Some of you know Greg as a regular at Marten Brewing and the Kal. Let’s help Greg get back on his feet!”

Palmer is the Vernon branch manager of the Animal Food Bank (AFB).

“This human gives so much of his spare time to help the community and especially the pets,” the AFB said. “Please help him and his pup Mervin.”

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A fundraiser for Classy Canine Grooming was launched on Tuesday by Shelley Williams on behalf of Janice, whose dog grooming business went up in flames.

“Janice is such a devoted dedicated part of our community she gives such great care for all those who have furry friends that had the pleasure of getting groomed by her,” Williams wrote. “Please help me help her with rebuilding her business.”

Michelle Regnier, owner of The Cauldron, started a GoFundMe to help recover after the loss of her small business, a metaphysical shop.

“My small business was such a unique place where people came to heal, to understand their lives, to help fix their lives, and to just join one of the weekly free workshops while building friendships, community, and self esteem,” she wrote. “I would love to continue to help people and to do so, I’m pleading to my community to please help me resurrect my dream from the ashes.”

Eunike Boutique was also lost in the blaze. Shayla Cole started a GoFundMe for her mom’s consignment business.

Cole said before owning the boutique she and her mom would shop there regularly, and they fell in love with it.

“It was always my mother’s dream to have a store of her own. When the old owner told us she was selling, we knew it would be perfect for my mom.

“This shop is where my mom has spent all of her time and was where she planned to spend for the rest of her working career. This store is very dear to our hearts.”

Eunike Boutique did not have insurance.

“We are completely devastated for her,” Cole wrote in the GoFundMe. “She sat downtown at 4 a.m. watching her store burn in tears.”

The Okanagan Eatery had just celebrated its second year of operation when it was destroyed by the blaze.

According to a GoFundMe created Tuesday, a young new family “poured their heart and soul into opening up what has been known as the ‘brunch spot of the Okanagan.’”

The business was started by Chelsea and Dustin White, who have a two-year-old son, according to the GoFundMe launched by Abby Lagerquist.

“Truly, some of the most genuine hard-working people I have ever met. They survived a worldwide pandemic, thriving in an industry with one of the lowest success rates. Their perseverance and talent helped them navigate through it all,” Lagerquist wrote.

While insurance will help cover some of the costs, “it doesn’t cover everything,” Lagerquist wrote.

“This young family and employees will be out of work, and everything they have worked for is up in smoke.”

As of Thursday morning, the fundraiser for Okanagan Eatery has received $17,855 of its $20,000 goal. The GoFundMe for Eunike Boutique has raised just $2,498, and the fundraiser for Greg just $2,335. The Cauldron fundraiser has raised just $300 in a day, and just $150 has been generated for Classy Canine.

The fire was found to have started from outside the building in the 2800 block of 30th Street, according to Vernon Fire Rescue Services Chief David Lind. It has been deemed suspicious in nature and is under investigation by the Vernon RCMP.

Crews were called to the blaze around 2:20 a.m. Tuesday morning. There were no injuries and a single occupant and a dog were able to escape.

READ MORE: 6 local businesses lost in Vernon fire

READ MORE: Suspicious fire destroys multiple Vernon businesses


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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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