BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – As the remains of Augie's Family Style Italian Restaurant sat in piles on the ground Wednesday after a devastating fire earlier in the week, a community came together to help the employees that are now temporarily out of work.
Augie Vitiello is staying positive, and while rebuilding is on his mind, it's his employees that he's worried about now.
"They are my employees and they deserve to be taken care of," he said.
With an online campaign, over 201 people have donated over $13,525 to the fund. The site aims to raise $50,000, with just 40 days left to finish raising the other $36,475.
"It is so emotional. When Augie told me it just brought tears to my eyes," said employee Jacqueline Scotti.
Money raised will be split evenly amongst the service staff while the business is out of work during the rebuild. Any remaining money in the case that the rebuild happens faster than expected, will be donated towards local homeless shelters.
Perks are available for different contributions:
$25 - $25 gets a 5 percent discount upon reopening and a mention on the restaurants website.
$100 - $100 gets a 10 percent discount upon reopening and a spot on the website.
$250 - $250 gets a 20 percent discount upon reopening and a spot on the website.
Officials believe the Monday fire started in the basement and was fueled by paper products and other restaurant supplies stored in the area. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however they say it appears to be an electrical fire.
Augie says he plans to rebuild at the same location, but he is eyeing a location down the street for a temporary spot until the new location opens.
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