CINCINNATI -- Living above the Molly Malone's where he worked in Pleasant Ridge was a good arrangement for Ammeon Beckham until Thursday, when a massive fire chewed through the connected buildings. Malone's was damaged; Beckham's apartment was completely destroyed.
He had lost his home and his ability to work in the course of one afternoon.
"I was just terrified," his sister, Aprina Johnson, said Friday. "Hoping he was going to be okay."
By the time she reached him, he was and he wasn't. Although Beckham was not injured in the fire and his family members provided him with a place to stay, the loss of his possessions was devastating.
Johnson said she also worries about his health. Her brother has been prone to seizures throughout his life, she said, and struggled with depression. Sans an income -- Molly Malone's may not re-open in the wake of the fire -- those problems could become more significant.
"I've been pretty heartbroken," she said. "We went through a lot in life. Those back-to-back hits, they do something to you if you don't have a lot of love and support around you."
That's why she set up a fundraiser to help her brother re-establish some kind of stability. By Saturday afternoon, it had already raised $7,451 of a $5,000 goal.
Johnson said all of that money will go toward helping her brother cover his medical expenses, buy new clothes and daily necessities, and put down a deposit for a new apartment.
"He needs all the support he can get right now," Johnson said. "He needs to know he's loved, he's valuable and he's not alone."
Following the fire, which also destroyed a coffee shop and two other apartments, the Pleasant Ridge Community Council set up a separate fundraiser for the other victims. Community council president Terri Gossard said she and other residents were prepared to do whatever was necessary to help the neighborhood recover.
Anyone who wants to provide support to Coffee Exchange or the displaced apartment residents should email email@example.com.
"We've created a task force," she said. "We're going to work to help the businesses and the residents above, to weather the next few hours, weeks months, and be there to assist them."