Garrettsville remains strong following fire, receives support from unexpected places

Officials hope to receive grants to aid rebuild

GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio - Sunday was a peaceful, calm day in Garrettsville with plenty of sun and blue skies. This was quite the contrast from last Saturday when an entire village block went up in flames.

Residents are still coming to grips with a historic part of their community now gone.

"I think it's still setting in, but the outpouring of our community and surrounding communities is just amazing," said Garrettsville resident Kristina Cupples.

City officials said many of the impacted businesses were under-insured and may not be able to rebuild.

"These businesses have been around a long time and now to update, to build what they need to build to bring up to code, costs a lot more than what they were actually covered for," said Garrettsville mayor Rick Patrick.

While low-interest loans have been offered by local banks and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Patrick hoped to find aid for fire victims elsewhere.

"These people don't need any more loans. We need to get grant money to try to help build. That's what we need," said Patrick.

Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard lost everything in the March 22 fire. Other agencies have stepped in, temporarily, to help provide food for clients the Cupboard normally serves.

The Cupboard has been offered three temporary, rent-free locations to get back on their feet. Food donations and support have also been coming in non-stop, some from unexpected locations.

"I've never seen a community come together like this, one that is beyond words because we're getting responses from as far away as California, which is beyond belief," said Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard board member Joe Leonard.

In addition to potential grants, city officials hoped the sale of "#GarrettsvilleStrong" t-shirts will also help businesses impacted by the fire. T-shirt orders can be placed by contacting Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce.

City officials said the official cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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