Albany fundraiser aids fire victims

August 06, 2017 08:11 AM

ALBANY -- “There was just a ton of fire trucks, said Samantha Finnegan. “You couldn't really see the flames. They were spraying down all the houses individually.”

Finnegan lived in one of the Madison Avenue homes that went up in flames on July 17th.

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Everything in the apartment she shared with her mother and nine-month-old daughter was destroyed.

“I was kind of in shell shock at the time,” Finnegan said. “Like, I don't think it really even hit me until probably this week. Like unpacking, trying to move into a new apartment.”

“I was devastated for her,” said Cheri West, who owns The Riverfront Bar and Grill in Albany. “I knew she lost everything.”

Finnegan works as a server at the restaurant.

She was among those being served Saturday as the Albany community gathered for a fundraiser at the venue to help Finnegan and other Madison Avenue fire victims.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of this community that has come together in so many ways to help put these people back on their feet,” West said.  

“To see the community come together and everybody come together for a good cause, not just helping me and my daughter but everybody, it's really nice,” Finnegan said.

West, who is Finnegan's boss, said she stayed at the scene of the fire with Finnegan throughout the night.

After seeing the bravery of Albany's fire department, West said the fundraiser was also about showing appreciation for those firefighters.

“My appreciation for them is beyond words to see them rush in as we rush out,” West said.

Finnegan said the shock of losing everything in the fire is just beginning to wear off.

She is just glad her daughter was not home at the time.

“I can replace everything else that I lost but I can't replace her,” Finnegan said. “So I'd rather lose it all 10 times over again than anything ever happen to her.”

The fundraiser included raffles, door prizes and auctions.              

Mayor Kathy Sheehan and other Albany officials also supported the event.


WNYT Staff

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