Residents, businesses rally around Eye's Gallery after fire on South Street in Philadelphia

A small business that sits right next to Jim's Steaks, where the blaze began, was also damaged in the fire.

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Monday, August 1, 2022 9:18PM
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A fire that erupted inside Jim's Steaks late last week on South Street in Philadelphia damaged more than just the iconic cheesesteak shop.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A fire that erupted inside Jim's Steaks late last week on South Street in Philadelphia damaged more than just the iconic cheesesteak shop.

Eyes Gallery, which is right next door, sustained smoke and water damage during the blaze on Friday.

Now other businesses and residents are stepping up to help them recover.

"I felt like a lightning bolt had hit me. I was numb," said Eyes Gallery owner Julia Zagar.

She says her business had extensive smoke and water damage. There were several feet of water in the basement, all the windows were destroyed and the ceiling now needs to be replaced.

The gallery sells Latin American Folk Art, Specialty Clothing and Unique Jewelry.

Emily Smith of Philadelphia Magic Gardens started a GoFundMe that, by mid-afternoon on Monday, had raised almost $20,000.

"The GoFundMe for us is showing Julia, who is 82, that she should not throw in the towel, that people are still loving her and supporting her," said Emily Smith.

Zagar says her resolve to remain on South Street is bolstered by the growing support of her neighbors.

"I thought I was retiring. I'm 82 years old, and now I'm the project manager," she laughed. "I didn't want to go out like this. This is not how I wanted to go out."

"I can't express how much everyone has come up, reached out to express their feelings to me," said Zagar.

Zagar hopes to reopen.

For information on how you can help, visit the GoFundMe page here.