More than $18K raised for fire victims |

More than $18K raised for fire victims

AVON – Local residents raised more than $18,000 in just a few hours for victims of Monday’s fire.

No one was injured, but victims lost everything when the blaze demolished Avon’s Chambertin Townhouses and damaged some of the surrounding buildings.

On Thursday night, hundreds of people gathered at Avon’s Northside Coffee and Kitchen for a spaghetti benefit.

They ate more than 750 meatballs, which means they spent an exceptionally generous $24 per meatball.

But of course it wasn’t just spaghetti and meatballs.

All night long people would drop a $20 bill on the counter for a $3 beer and leave the change as a donation.

When the night was done, the staff was so tired they just put all the money in the safe and closed up.

The next morning people kept donating, even though the benefit was over.

“We ended the night with $17,700, but Friday people kept coming in and we ended up with more than $18,000,” said Jim Pavelich, Northside Coffee and Kitchen owner. “Everyone was there to give.”

When they were counting the money Friday, one stack of $20 bills was a foot high.

“I felt like Scarface when we were counting the money,” Pavelich said. “It’s the most cash I’ve ever seen. It was awesome.”

Local entertainers Rod Powell and others donated their time. The Salvation Army and Red Cross helped organize the event.

“We’re lucky to live in such a generous community,” Pavelich said.

The fire victims still need help, said Tsu Wolin-Brown with the Salvation Army.

She asked that people donate gift cards or money, since none of the victims have anywhere to store donated items.

“People lost everything. One guy lost his dentures and his glasses. Several lost their cars,” Wolin-Brown said.

Local agencies are trying to find new homes for the fire victims. Some will need to accommodate pets, Wolin-Brown said.

Fire crews from all over the region helped battle the blaze.

Investigators have ruled out a barbecue grill as a possible cause, said Gail McFarland, public information officer with the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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