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General News

Outpouring of Support for Greek Family after Devastating Fire in Whitestone

WHITESTONE, NY – A touching outpouring of support has come in to help the Greek-American family who saw their home in the Whitestone area of Queens, NY, completely destroyed by a devastating fire that broke out on June 9.

The family of Antonis Karapatakis is now awaiting the conclusion of the Fire Department investigation and the final assessment of the damages after the fire which thankfully did not result in any serious harm to human lives as everyone followed the correct course of action at the right time.

George Dzanoucakis, a colleague of Antonis’ wife Maria Letsiou Karapatakis, started an online donation campaign on the GoFundMe platform, in order to help raise funds for the emergency expenses and obligations of the family, who saw their fortune literally disappear in a matter of seconds. He added that the house has essentially been destroyed, gutted by the fire.

“I am setting up this GoFundMe page to help support my colleague Mary Letsiou Karapatakis as a raging fire tore through her Whitestone home. There is nothing left of the house except the shell. Everyone in her family made it out safely. All they have left are the clothes they were wearing, and not even shoes on their feet. Anything you can do to alleviate some of their expenses will be greatly appreciated,” Dzanoucakis says on the GoFundMe page.

The goal set by the organizer is $25,000 and, as of the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, the donations had reached $19,800 from 147 different donations, starting at $20 and reaching up to $1,000, to help the Karapatakis family.

It should be noted that as reported in the online edition of the National Herald, the Fire Department received a call at 2:30 PM on Sunday about a fire that broke out at 6-24 159th Street, in the Whitestone neighborhood, at the Karapatakis’ home. A force of 60 firefighters rushed to the scene, and managed to bring the fire under control after about an hour, at 3:30 PM. Two firefighters were reported to have required medical attention at the scene, but their injuries were minor.

According to a report on ABC7 Eyewitness News, the Karapatakis family moved into this house four years ago. Neighbors and friends rushed to help, but it was clear that the fire which appears to have started in the backyard was too intense.

“I heard screaming and then my mom was yelling at me to come outside and get the fire extinguisher,” neighbor Chris Anastasis, also Greek-American, told ABC7. “I came outside with it. The fire was way bigger than what a fire extinguisher could do.”

The fire had spread to the neighbor’s backyard as well. Dennis Anastasis told CBS2 News: “My pool is destroyed, my gazebo is destroyed, the fence is destroyed, the siding is destroyed, windows are broken. It is a mess. Property can get replaced, life cannot.”

Antonis and Maria Karapatakis’ daughter, Ellena, had been inside the house at the time and managed to escape the fast-moving fire with the family’s two pets, a cat and a dog, CBS2 News reported. As she spoke on camera, she held an icon of the Virgin Mary and Child which was not damaged in the fire.

The family will be “staying with some close friends for the time being,” CBS2 News reported.

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