The outpouring of community support amazed Steve and Joanne Salerno.
The owners of Justine’s were surprised––stunned, even––at the donations that came in after a fire heavily damaged their Cobleskill restaurant last Monday.
But although the Salernos are deeply appreciative, they won’t accept the money.
“The fire is our problem and we’ll deal with it,” said Ms. Salerno.
“There are other people in the community who need the money more than we do.”
To that end, they’re turning over all donations to the Cobleskill Fire Department, which led the attack on last Monday’s fire.
“Those people and the other departments were wonderful,” Ms. Salerno said, “and they do this just as volunteers.”
An anonymous friend opened an account for the family at Key Bank the day of the fire, but the Salernos asked to have the account closed.
Mr. and Ms. Salerno haven’t decided what to do with Justine’s but will make a decision in the next few weeks.
The fire broke out in the upper rear of the West Main Street restaurant about 4:15am. Fire investigators believe the blaze started in an upstairs kitchen appliance, but damage prevented them from determining which one.
Justine’s upper floor was ruined, while the ground floor––main kitchen, lobby, dining room and new bar––suffered water and smoke damage.