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North Bay restaurant rallying community support for fire victims

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North Bay’s downtown community is still reeling after Tuesday’s fire that destroyed a building on Main Street East.

What's left of the six apartment units and two vibrant businesses is now a pile of rubble.

North Bay firefighters observe a building on Main Street East being torn down after fire

To help those who lost their livelihood and belongings, a restaurant located across the street from where the fire happened is going to step in and help.

When thick flames erupted from the building Tuesday, Cecil’s Brewhouse and Kitchen owner John Lechlitner said he was horrified.

Some of his former employees lived in the second-floor apartment complex.

"That makes it strike even a little bit closer to home. You know, when you do know people that live in a building and they've lost everything," Lechlitner said.

"Fire, in my mind, is probably one of the worst because you literally lose everything."

Wanting to help the displaced families, he’s scrounging up support from the local business community for a pasta dinner at the restaurant next Thursday.

"If there’s opportunities for us to help out, we will," Donna Backer of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce told CTV News in an interview.

"We’re always there to help anybody in the business community.”

All of the proceeds will go directly to the residents affected by the fire to help them get back on their feet.

"Despite a building gone, it's still a vibrant place to come to," Lechlitner said.

Flames quickly spread into the roof and despite firefighter’s best efforts, the building couldn’t be saved and had to be demolished.

Because the fire damage to the building was so significant, officials said they won’t be able to determine what caused it to go up in smoke.

The two businesses that were lost are a Lebanese restaurant and a tattoo parlour, with water and smoke damaging the neighbouring nurse practitioner clinic.

The chamber of commerce is urging the community to shop downtown following this disaster.

"It’s unfortunate that people feel like they have to come and support it in times of need. It should be supported all the time. It’s open all the time," Backer said.

The Canadian Red Cross is helping the displaced families with emergency lodging, food, clothing and personal items. 

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