Community starts GoFundMe to help Newport mother, daughter devastated by house fire

Firefighters put out an electrical fire March 22 that burned the interior of a combined apartment and storage building at 611 Chatham St. Community members have started a GoFundMe to support the mother and daughter who lost their belongings and pets to the blaze. (Mike Shutak photo)

NEWPORT — A mother and daughter who lost their home in a fire March 22 are being offered help through an online fundraiser.

Crystal Johnson of Newport and her 7-year-old daughter, Keara, lost their home to an electrical blaze burned the apartment where they lived at 611 Chatham St. The mother and daughter lost all their belongings, as well as their two dogs.

Now, Ms. Johnson’s boyfriend, David Barrow, is organizing a fundraiser via, a website that provides a platform to raise money for individuals, groups and organizations. Anyone who wants to contribute to the fundraiser may do so at

As of Tuesday afternoon, the fundraiser has received $2,200 from 38 donors.

Robert Jackson of Cape Carteret, a friend of Ms. Johnson, said he’s been trying to help by spreading the word about the GoFundMe.

“I’m just trying to get her help,” Mr. Jackson said. “Everything that wasn’t burnt was so smoke and water damaged it wasn’t salvageable.”

According to Mr. Jackson, Ms. Johnson works as a chef at 34 North Restaurant and Bar in Beaufort. The restaurant is a part of the Beaufort Hotel, which has provided the family with temporary lodging.

“They’ve put her up in a room,” Mr. Jackson said, “but that won’t last forever.”

Ms. Johnson said in a text message Tuesday to the News-Times she wants to thank everyone for all the help she and her daughter have received.

“I wouldn’t even have the clothes on my back right now if it wasn’t for everyone helping us,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better support system between my work and the donors. They’ve helped me feel normal again.

“I never thought the smallest thing, like a hairbrush or a toothbrush could make me cry, but thanks to all the help I’ve received, I have that hairbrush and I have that toothbrush for myself and my daughter,” she continued.


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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