VENTNOR – It’s good to have great neighbors. A Dorset Avenue couple has rallied the community to help their neighbor who was burned out of his apartment at 111 N. Dorset Ave., Wednesday, Sept. 2.
No one was injured in the blaze which left four people without a place to live. A father and son who lived in the first floor apartment behind a vacant storefront are staying in a motel, while Bill Miller, 59, who lived in a second floor apartment with a roommate has taken shelter in a room at the rear of a neighbor’s property. The whereabouts of his roommate are unknown at this time.
Miller escaped the fire wearing only his underwear and lost everything, his neighbor Bill Wigley said.
Wigley and his wife Debra immediately stepped into action and put out a call on Facebook seeking donations of clothing and household items.
“He got a good amount of clothing, including underwear, socks and dress shirts. He received a few gift cards and my wife offered to drive him to Walmart to get what he needs. If he needs anything, it’s gift cards and some cash,” Wigley said.
Wigley said Miller, who has been laid off from his job as a casino hospitality worker for months, was slated to begin working again on Friday, but when his employer at Resorts Casino Hotel found out about the fire on Wednesday, he gave Miller another week or so to get his life back together, Wigley said.
“He lost everything, his cell phone, clothes and all his possession. He had some cash, but it burned up in the fire,” Wigley said.
The fire started in a bedroom on the second floor and the 911 call was placed shortly before 11 p.m. The second floor was a total loss. The fire is under investigation, but Wigley believes it was electrical in nature. The owners had insurance, he said, but Miller is not sure if his possessions will be covered. He was scheduled to meet with the owner of the building on Sunday afternoon.
Wigley shot a video of the fire and posted it on his Facebook page.
“There was a pretty good response from the public,” said Wigley, who sat on his front porch all day Saturday to accept the donations.
He said Miller was not aware of what they were doing, and when he found out, he thanked them for caring enough to help.
“I said don’t thank me, that’s the least we could do,” Wigley said. “He was very moved and wasn’t expecting anything. He will have to start over again from nothing. I cannot imagine having your whole life burnt up in front of your eyes. I guess he will just have to take it one day at a time.”
Donations can be dropped off at the Wigley home at 110 N. Dorset Ave.
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