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West View Community Rallies Together To Help Those Displaced From Apartment Fire

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Community members in West View are helping several families get back on their feet after a devastating fire tore through their apartment building.

"Almost everything was unsalvageable," said Blake Gray, his apartment was ruined in the fire.

Blake Gray and his 7-year-old daughter are one of four families who lost their apartments and nearly everything they own in a fire Wednesday morning.

The apartment building is on Oakwood Avenue in West View.

One woman was rescued from the burning building and is fighting for her life in the hospital.

Community members were saddened by this tragic fire, and they are not letting the families go through this tough time alone.

"We're doing what we can for you, and everyone is here to help," said Rachel Bovill, owner of Howard's Tavern in West View.

The owners of Howard's Tavern, Rachel and Derek Bovill, have been collecting donations at their restaurant since Thursday.

On Sunday, local musicians performed for free, and customers were asked to bring donations.

"Anytime we have the opportunity to help out we want to do whatever we can. But really, it's not us. We just came up with the idea and everyone is bringing the donations," Rachel Bovill said.

Their customers have filled half a room with clothes, kitchen supplies, gift cards, and more.

The Bovills decided to pay it forward because they've received so much support throughout the pandemic.

In February, they received funds from Barstool Sports, which helped them keep their business open.

"We have the best customers you could possibly ask for and we are so blessed and fortunate to be here doing this. Because Barstool helped us, we are going to continue to do anything we can to help this community in the future," Derek Bovill, owner of Howard's Tavern said.

Gray said their neighbors and local firefighters have been supportive too. He said the neighbor across the street has been collecting donations and another neighbor has invited them into their home.

Gray said they are grateful for the donated items, but it's been bittersweet because they haven't found a permanent place to live yet.

"We just want to stress how grateful and how thankful we truly are, we really, really are," Gray said.

Gray's 7-year-old daughter Deklyn Matthews said they will carry on. She had a message for people who have lost their homes to fires.

"I want to say something to people who else had their house burn down, stay strong to all of you out there, who also had their house burnt down," Matthews said.

They have faith they will bounce back and hope to create new memories in a new home soon.

"On one half, your heart is breaking but on the other side, you're just being filled with this joy that it seems like everything is going to be okay. We feel really blessed we are in the West View-Ross community because as we are learning, it is more a tight-knit community than we could have ever imagined," said Gray.

A firefighter was treated at the scene the day of the fire.

The woman who was rescued from the fire is still in the hospital in critical condition.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

If you would like to help the families, you can drop donations off at Howard's Tavern in West View. The restaurant opens at 3 p.m. every day.

You can send an email to if you need to set up an earlier time.

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