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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Seminole Heights pitches in after fire destroys businesses

Neighborhood groups in Seminole Heights are pitching in to assist employees and owners affected by a two-alarm fire that destroyed two businesses this week.

The early Tuesday blaze at Domani Bistro Lounge and A Modern Line, an antique furniture store, on the 6400 block of North Florida Avenue, was caused by a electrical malfunction in the restaurant’s walk-in freezer, authorities said. No one was injured.

In the aftermath, neighbors of the businesses in this historic district are showing passion and resiliency, setting up web pages for donations and establishing a community fundraiser.

“It is incredible to see the community response,” The Heights Collective wrote in a Facebook post. “People are excited to help in any way they can, from structural engineers offering to assist with the rebuilding to local bands offering to play for free at benefit events.”

The organization, created to better the Heights District, has joined with other groups and businesses to plan “The Heights Unites,” to benefit victims of the fire. The event is tentatively slated for March 22.

Other fundraisers involving area businesses donating a portion of sales are being planned, as well.

“We’re a community of people that care deeply for each other, and in the wake of the heartbreaking loss of two beloved neighborhood businesses, we come together, we help, we rebuild,” the Heights Collective wrote in an email update sent to volunteers after a Tuesday planning meeting.

In the meantime, donations are being accepted online through a website set up by the Seminole Heights Foundation. Donations can also be sent by a check made payable to Seminole Heights Foundation, with “Fire Victims” noted in the memo field, to 921 E. Broad St., Tampa FL 33604.

The foundation was created to promote the revitalization and redevelopment of the historic district.

Anyone interested in donating their time can sign up at a website set up by The Heights Collective.

The neighborhood has been experiencing a “renaissance,” thanks largely to locally owned eateries like Domani, said Debi Johnson, president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association.

“It’s a blow,” she said. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to re-open and stay in Seminole Heights.”

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