Central Virginians rally for woman displaced by Sandy – and Henrico blaze

Posted at 6:53 PM, Nov 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-16 18:53:11-05

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) - Central Virginians are coming to the aid of a woman who lost her home not once, but twice in the last few weeks.

CBS 6 News has been receiving calls from people ever since we shared Pamela Pollard’s story on Thursday.

Pollard’s home in New York was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Then after moving to Henrico to be with family, her aunt’s apartment was lost in a fire.

For Pollard, who was staying with her aunt in Henrico County’s West End after Superstorm Sandy destroyed her home on Long Island, the shock of losing what little she had is finally settling in.

Just when she thought she was rebounding, the nightmarish inferno swallowed her home away from home, and left eight people homeless.

Pollard's aunt, Leticia Taylor, said she woke up thinking it all must have been a bad dream.

"I was a little hesitant on coming over here today,” she said. 

However, she gathered her strength and joined family members to assess the fire’s damage as cleanup crews scoured the blackened mess trying to save what they could.

The American Red Cross and generous Richmonders are stepping in to help with offers of clothing and household items.

“We’re going to be here in the days to come to make sure the people get back on the path to recovery,” the Red Cross' Jonathan McNamara said.

Pollard said she is extremely grateful for the support.

“I thank God for the people of Richmond," Pollard said. "They’ve been so caring and supporting.

As the victims pick up the charred and waterlogged pieces of what’s left from the fire, each says they feel lucky to be alive.

“That was my number one priority no one getting hurt. I’m glad no one did get hurt from this,” Lequelle Taylor, whose mother lost her apartment in the fire, said.

Becky Vassar's daughter was forced out of her home and lost many of her belongings due to water damage. She said people need to keep what is important in perspective.

“Sofas mean nothing. Tables mean nothing. You walked away with your life and you’re safe,” she said.

Some survivors said family, their faith and a positive attitude will guide them through this dark time.

“Tomorrow is going to get better,” Taylor said. “It will get better because it has gotten better since last night.”

If you would like to donate to the victim’s of Thursday’s fire call the Greater Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross at 804-780-2250.