House Fire Victims Peter King and Ann O'Connor Get Home Rebuilt by Generous Neighbors

Peter King, Ann O'Connor home in Syracuse, N.Y., before and after the fire.
Peter King, Ann O'Connor home in Syracuse, N.Y., before and after the fire.

When Peter King and Ann O'Connor lost their home to a fire in the summer of 2012, they found themselves suddenly homeless and seemingly alone. But thanks to the benevolence of their Syracuse, N.Y., community, the couple is slated to have a brand-new home by Easter.

The community raised over $70,000 in a huge fundraising effort to rebuild the couple's home. The house, which was uninsured, was nothing but a "charred shell" after the fire. But now, the home boasts a brand new exterior. (The home's interior is still under construction.)

Ann O'Connor, Peter King
Ann O'Connor, Peter King

"It's a startling image, to see that fire damage and then see what's been done since then. We're pretty joyful of the outcome so far," King told TV station WSYR in Syracuse.

O'Connor echoed her husband, saying that the response from their community, and the donation of time, money and services was nothing short of "wonderful."

The outpouring of generosity for the couple could perhaps be attributed to good karma: King and O'Connor have dedicated their lives to helping the poor and homeless. For 40 years the couple has been running the Unity Kitchen Community, serving family-style meals for the less fortunate in the Syracuse community. Now, the community has the chance to "give love back" -- and they're doing it.

The story is reminiscent of that of Burt and Jeanne Metz of the Breezy Point neighborhood in Queens, who lost their home when Hurricane Sandy struck the New York City borough. The home, which had been flooded with 4 feet of water, was completely rebuilt by over 300 humanitarian volunteers. (In January, the Metzes were able to move into their new home.)

King and O'Connor still have weeks before they can move into their home. (The couple is currently living in an apartment paid for by Catholic Charities.) To donate to the continuing progress of King and O'Connor's home or to help the couple in their transition period, call the Unity Kitchen Community at 315-478-5552.

View the video here:

Originally published