EAST VILLAGE — Days after a suspected gas explosion destroyed three buildings on Second Avenue, friends and neighbors have rallied online to raise money for those who lost their homes.
The blast tore through the basement of 121 Second Ave. on March 26, resulting in the death of two men and the evacuation of 11 other buildings in the area, including 144 residential units. Four buildings were still under vacate orders as of Monday, officials said.
Using websites like GoFundMe and YouCaring, a number of individuals have set up online fundraisers to help East Village residents rebuild their lives and pay for necessary expenses like new clothing and food.
Here are some of the crowdfunding campaigns currently accepting donations:
► Mildred Guy, a 62-year-old teacher's assistant at The Neighborhood School, lived in her rent-controlled fourth-floor apartment for 46 years before the blast and the ensuing fire destroyed her building, located on the corner of East Seventh Street and Second Avenue.
► Diane McLean, and her three young children lost their rent-stabilized apartment last week. McLean has lived in the apartment since she was a graduate student in 1979, she said on her GoFundMe page.
► Matt and Nora Brooks lost their cat, Sylvie, in the March 26 incident, as well as most of their belongings, which included the puppets and set equipment Matt was using to produce a show in their apartment and Nora's research for her master's thesis.
► Laura Gibson, the Brooks' roommate, is a musician pursuing a master’s degree at Hunter College.
► Mariann Marlowe, the owner of Enz’s — a clothing store located at 125 Second Ave. that specializes in rockabilly- and pinup-style outfits — was in the store and forced to evacuate when the explosion happened. She has not been able to return to the shop or close her gates, said Emily Boyd, a longtime customer and friend who started a crowdfunding campaign for Marlowe.
► Lia and Stefano Sasselli lost their East Village home just days before their birthdays, according to an online fundraiser. Lia's birthday was on March 27 and while Stefano will celebrate a birthday on March 31.
► Stuart, Kayoko and Hannah Lipsky lost not only many of their possessions but their cat Ryce, as well.
► Roommates Ben Wheeler, Deirunas Visockas, Andrew Dean and Nick Pizzutello were also displaced from their apartment at 45 E. Seventh St., where they lived for two years.
► McKenzie Roese lived in the apartment above Sushi Park at 121 Second Ave., the restaurant the explosion tore through on March 26. The unit was "my first New York apartment," said the Minnesota native by email, who moved to the city just eight months ago.
► Jason Gustafson has lived on the corner of East Seventh Street and Second Avenue for five years when the building collapsed last week, according to this GoFundMe page.
► Elizabeth Diamond's apartment, located at 125 Second Ave., "incurred massive smoke damage and is uninhabitable." She did not have renter's insurance, according to her fundraising site.
► Friends are raising money for Justin Lubman and Chris Schaub to help them pay for "a new home, furniture, clothes on their back and food in their stomach."