Arson Relief - Flaming Torch NOLA

*** UPDATE 2/5: After raising our goal to $6,000, we have now blown by that amount as well! We are at nearly $7,400, and I will let any remaining donations roll in over the weekend until I meet up with Zohreh Monday morning. If there is continued appetite for more fundraising efforts, we will discuss extending the campaign further.  Thank you everyone for your outpouring of generosity and solidarity ***

*** To be clear (and I'm glad this point was rasied), these funds will be used to cover what insurance does NOT. I don't want Zohreh to have any difficulty filing her claim! ***

This weekend, someone set fire to the Flaming Torch restaurant in Uptown New Orleans, which is owned by a local Iranian family. Read more about the crime here.

The owner of the resataurant, Zohreh Khaleghi, was lucky to escape the fire, which was set around 8pm on Saturday. 

From WDSU coverage:

Khaleghi said she went up to the roof for safety and called 911, and the New Orleans Fire Department came to her rescue.

"It started from the dining area on the first floor,” Khaleghi said. “They put gasoline all over the place in the kitchen, the bathroom, everywhere."

"I just have tears always in my eyes,” 

Before emergency crews responded, she said she was on the second floor doing inventory and smelled smoke.

"I was in the office,” Khaleghi said. “I saw the smoke, like a cloud of dark smoke. It came to the room. It was scary."

Without the Fire Department, she said, she would be dead.

As Khaleghi tries to salvage what she can, she tells WDSU she has insurance, but is not sure if the Flaming Torch will ever reopen.

"Emotionally, this is something that money cannot bring back for us,” Khaleghi said. 

What makes this even harder is the recent death of her husband.

Although the investigation is ongoing, the cause of the fire has been determined to be arson. 

I've reached out to Zohreh to ask her permission to raise funds to help offset the cost of the damages, so hopefully the restaurant can reopen. Although they have insurance, rarely does it cover all of the financial loss associated with a fire.

Please join me in helping her repair her restaurant, and let's remind her ALL people are welcome in our country (disclaimer: a motive hasn't been determined yet).

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Micaela Lillard 
New Orleans, LA
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