CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - The Carolina Beach Bar Club raised $12,500 Saturday for two victims of the Paradise Cove fire.
The funds will be used to help local residents Callie Ryan and Chad Jeffrey, who lost everything in last Friday’s fire, including pets.
“It was pretty devastating just to watch people that you know and love have to lose everything,” said Carrie Anders, close friends of both Ryan and Jeffrey.
Ryan and Jeffrey are roommates. Jeffrey and his three young children thankfully were not home during the time of the fire. Ryan, however, had to jump from her third story window to escape the flames. She sustained injuries in the fall including a broken back and is still recovering in the hospital.
“I located Callie,” Anders said. “They were putting her on the stretcher and then putting her into the ambulance when we got there and she was coherent but you could tell it was pretty bad.”
Ryan and Jeffrey both grew up in the area and are well-known bartenders who have worked all over the island for years, most recently The Dive.
“I think everybody in the community knows them well,” said Matt Hamlet, founder of the Carolina Beach Bar Club. “People actually go to the bar just to see them.”
And there was no shortage of good things said about both of them at today’s event.
“Callie’s personality is just, she’s just one of those people you just can’t help but love,” said Jeff Smith, who knows Jeffrey and Ryan well. “She’s just family here on the island, she and Chad both.”
There were multiple ways to donate at Saturday’s event, whether it was by buying a t-shirt or snagging a plate of fresh barbeque.
“We have made t-shirts that say CB-strong by a local t-shirt printer,” Hamlet said. “We have raffle bundles, two of them each are about $2,000 in raffle prizes. The Fern Boys, they are doing barbeque plates for us today and that’s a $10 donation per plate and we have live music all day and drink specials.”
Ever since the fire that took place a little over a week ago, the Carolina Beach community has stepped up to help all the victims. There have been a number of fundraisers to support those who lost so much in just a matter of ten minutes. Over a dozen lives were changed as the fire tore through the condo complex on April 2nd.
“For a small Island of about 6,000 people, they always come out to support any cause that’s available and they come out in large numbers to support.,” Hamlet said. “And CB-Strong is reflective of that. Everybody on this island wants to be there for each other no matter what.”
The Carolina Beach Fire Department confirmed this week that the annual inspection of the fire protection system at Paradise Cove condos was in compliance.
Officials are still unsure of what started the fire. Fire Chief Alan Griffin said investigators have a good idea of where the fire may have started, largely due to the amount of photos and videos onlookers provided.