Community gathers to support victims of East Bay fire - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Community gathers to support victims of East Bay fire

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A fundraiser held Wednesday night at the Alley in downtown Charleston raised $7,000 for the victims of the 213 East Bay Street fire.

Bartenders from Brick, Light, Speakeasy and Squeeze Bar bartended throughout the night. A portion of the money raised goes directly to those bartenders and other employees who lost their jobs during the April 2nd fire.

Brian Peters was celebrating a friend's engagement when the fire broke out Squeeze. A bar he has been a part of since it was built nearly three years ago. He describes the week following the fire as one filled with helplessness.

"The whole night just went on for hours, and the next couple of days went on as one sleepless blur of what's happening," Peters said.

But, he also said the community spirit of giving back has helped chip away at the disappoint he felt after losing his bar.

"We are hospitality," he said. That's Charleston, and it says a lot that people take the time out of their day to throw a benefit to help us in a time of need."

Joe Fahey, who was a bartender at Speakeasy, also said the rallying cry the community has given him and his team has meant a lot.

"Everybody has reached out so much just like this," Fahey said. "I mean we've worked more in the last two weeks than we did with our jobs before we actually stopped."

Fahey had just closed up the bar and was eating dinner down the street when he got the call about the fire. When he pulled up, he said he saw firefighters breaking out the windows of this bar. He looks back upon a frantic moment of the night when he tried to give the firefighters the keys to the bar before realizing his dream job was gone.

"You put your heart and soul into something just like any job," he said. "With bartending it's the same way, and day in and day out you treat it like it's your own and it's one of those things that's just tough."

Several of the bartenders News 2 spoke with Wednesday night remain optimistic that the bars will reopen. Some said it may be six months, and others said it may be closer to a year. Fire official are still investigating what caused the fire.

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