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Community supports family after fire

Community members from the past and present have rallied around a local family after losing their home.

There is an old saying that goes ‘it’s always darkest before dawn.’ Annie Riddick of Bayview knows that well. Her family home that had been passed down for generations was completely destroyed in a house fire in the last few days of 2020. The home was over 100 years old and began as a store for Riddick’s parents. The family has owned the property since the 1960s. 

In addition to losing her home, Riddick also lost all belongings and furniture inside the house. Her car was also damaged by the flames. Officials with the Bath Volunteer Fire Department reported that the cause of the fire was electrical. 

The support Riddick and her family received from the community was incredible, according to Riddick. Fundraisers were set up in her family’s name and hundreds of people donated things like clothes, money and appliances as the family worked to get back on their feet. 

“The community has just been so tremendous, I cannot express my gratitude. They helped me get a new home and everyone has been so good from near and far. I’ve had people who have left the community send me money from all different places,” Riddick said. “The community has supported me and I just love them all. Anything I can do for them, I will be glad to do it. I just can’t thank them enough.”

One of the most successful fundraisers for the family was the online Go Fund Me campaign started by Jenni Wallace-Uzzell. $6,900 was raised for Riddick and her family by 101 donors over the course of a few months. 

“My momma brought me up to help everybody so this means a lot to me,” Riddick said. “I just love this place. I told a few of them that I would have to move out of Bayview if I couldn’t find a place to live and they told me I couldn’t leave because I am Bayview and that just meant so much to me.”

With the community’s support, Riddick now has a trailer she is residing in on the family property and has replaced her fire-damaged car. 

“The whole community has been so sweet and we’ve been in the house for two weeks. We’re still trying to get settled but glory be to God. Without Him, I know this would have been impossible,” Riddick said.