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Benefit for Harrisburg fire victims helps neighbors come together, heal

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – "I just wanna hug you and hold you and let you know I appreciate you being my neighbor, and we get to see each other again," said Theresa Harris of the Allison Hill section of Harrisburg.

A community in Harrisburg rallied together to spread love, donate items, and remember the lives lost and families affected by two recent fires. Flames broke out at home on Lexington Street on March 10th and then another fire burned several row homes on Walnut Street just two days later.

Sunday's event, designed to help, was called “Beyond the Blaze”.

"Everything is completely gone. They had to go through my bedroom to try to get to the other bedroom to rescue the kids,” said Theresa Harris.

Harris' home on the 2500-block of Lexington Street was destroyed.

That fire claiming the lives of two young girls and forever impacting the entire community.

"Oh God, it’s so terrible,” said Harris.

Despite losing her home, Harris says she is thankful for benefit events like “Beyond the Blaze”.

“It’s wonderful, and this right here, I want to be a part of these people,” added Harris.

Dozens of neighbors gathered on South 18th Street to pray, sing, and donate time, food, money, and services to raise money for the victims impacted by the fires.

"Anytime a community suffers a loss, we're all affected by it,” said Rev. Ronnette Little, Pastor at Choice Community Christian Church.

The event’s organizer says he had to do something for the community.

"It was a call to action. I believe God led it on my heart. I know god let it on my heart,” said Jonathan Branch of Allison Hill.

One gym teacher from Downey School knew 10-year old Savannah Dominick, one of the two girls who died from injuries they suffered in the Lexington Street fire.

"The last time that I had seen her she was helping me. She was helping me. We both sat on the floors and pumped up basketballs,” said Michele Rolko, a physical education teacher at the school.

Neighbors hoping it’s the last tragedy they will have to experience.

"We had a real tragic weekend. We’re all trying to heal in one way shape or form,” said Rolko.

And hoping for healing in the Harrisburg community.

If you would like to donate to the fire victims, the families are in need of money, gift cards, gently used clothing, bedding, and toiletries. You can contact the Choice Community Christian Church at 717-592-1031 for more information or Jonathan Branch at 717-443-2939.