Charlotte community steps in to help after woman, daughter lose everything in townhouse fire

Charlotte community steps in to help after woman, daughter lose everything in townhouse fire

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Losing everything in a house fire is a tragedy no matter when it happens, but it’s particularly difficult to pick up the pieces during a global pandemic.

That’s the reality for Whitney Johnson and her 6-year-old daughter Skylar.

“Wow I can’t believe that just happened,” Johnson said. “I mean it was all within minutes.”

Johnson says she was letting her dog out Wednesday afternoon when Skylar ran outside.

The kitchen was in flames and everything was destroyed.

“All of my furniture, my daughter’s belongings,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s brother Bryant lives in Virginia and felt helpless but knew he needed to do something.

So, he started texting friends, not expecting how many people turned out to help.

A group of about 20 people helped Johnson remove damaged furniture from the townhome on Sunday.

“I was very speechless at the amount of support that helped me to get my belongings out in a very short amount of time,” Johnson said. “They just came right out and helped me make that first step of the transition.”

Her brother also started fundraising on Facebook, raising more than $2,000 dollars in two days.

“In this time people still want to do good, they still want to have an impact, in a sense feel connected,” Bryant Johnson said.

They are socially distanced but emotionally closer than ever.

“I’m just grateful,” Johnson said. “That’s all I can say.”

Some good is coming out of so much loss.

“What I have left are my daughter and my dog,” she said. “The people that came out were from the relationships I built.”

Johnson says everyone can learn from this pandemic.

“Don’t put all your hope in things,” she said. “Invest in people because that’s what matters the most and lasts long.”

Whitney and Skylar are staying with friends, but they are looking for permanent housing.

Her daughter suffers from chronic asthma so it’s a nerve-wracking time.

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