Fall River Vision Fire Relief

My sister, Christina Herald’s optometry practice, Fall River Vision, was the victim of a five-alarm fire on Monday, November 14th. She is the hardest-working person I know and has been working alongside Dr. Posner, the former owner, to build the practice since July. The practice has been a 40+ year staple of the community, with Dr. Posner's excellent patient care leaving him with the most loyal patients. Both Christina and Dr. Posner invested their life savings in the business, and they were seeing steady growth, but the fire on Monday night in the building next door to her office has destroyed their dreams.

Christina/Dr. Herald was still working at 9 PM when the fire started at the power tools store next door. She watched as every available firefighter in the city was called to the scene. She thought she was watching her dreams go up in smoke. By a miracle, there was minimal fire damage to her office, but the damage to the complex means that she has no gas or electricity so she can not legally reopen without significant construction/permits from the city. It's unclear the extent of smoke damage or other damages that are not immediately visible that may also need to be addressed. Her landlord said he plans to demolish the building next door to hers due to the damage and that it could take months to get her office in good enough shape that she could reopen.

Since we don't know if smoke damage destroyed her costly equipment, she is still obligated to make payments on it. It is unclear if she can use her business insurance because everything is still in limbo and nothing in her office actually caught on fire. Regardless, she will need to pay significant monthly expenses to keep the business alive. She would be seeing patients today if she could and has been distraught thinking about patients who have eye emergencies who need her. Even if she can re-open at the earliest estimate of January, she may have to close the business due to the consequences of the fire because she cannot sustain her business expenses while she is not generating revenue.

Christina has been working 6-7 days a week since she graduated optometry school so that she could save up enough to have her own practice. Owning the business has made her the happiest and most fulfilled she has ever been. It breaks my heart to see Christina's hard work disappear over something so unpredictable. We would be grateful for any support you can give to keep her dreams alive.

Here is a link to her interview, which was on the local news. https://www.wpri.com/news/local-news/se-mass/fire-breaks-out-inside-fall-river-shopping-plaza/

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Kimberly Buonomo 
Fall River, MA

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