IMPACT

After East Village Fire, Internet Helps Single Mom Of 3 Who Lost Everything

04/02/2015 05:59 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2015

Strangers near and far are helping one New York City mom find stable housing for her family in the wake of devastation.

Although Diane McLean's family survived a fire that leveled three buildings in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood last week, her home of 36 years was destroyed. McLean -- a single mother of three -- "lost everything" but her loved ones.

"We’ll never go back to our home," McLean, a psychiatrist who helps underprivileged children at a South Bronx hospital, told Yahoo. She noted she and her three children "walked out of our apartment building that morning, headed to school and to work with our backpacks, and that’s all that we have left."

Fortunately, the Internet has come to their rescue.

A GoFundMe page created the day after the fire has garnered more than $86,000 as of Thursday afternoon for McLean to help rebuild her life and find affordable housing for her family. As she noted on the page, McLean hadn't purchased rental insurance because she'd been focused on providing for her children.

"I'm in awe of how supportive not only our friends and family have been, but complete strangers," McLean, who included links to help other people affected by the fire on her GoFundMe page, told People.com. "We might not have a home, but we are far from homeless. It's an extremely comforting feeling."

McLean is one of dozens who are trying to recover after the tragedy. The fire -- which may have been caused by a gas explosion -- killed two people and injured 22 others. The American Red Cross set up shop at a nearby school to provide a space for residents to seek shelter and find help in the fire's aftermath.

"Our hearts go out to the families of all who are affected," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference last Friday. "Rarely do we see a scene of such devastation in a city like this."

To donate to McLean's GoFundMe page, click here. Learn how to help other victims of the fire here.

To take action on pressing poverty issues, check out the Global Citizen's widget below.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • mirandalevitt / Instagram
  • lydiacheuk / Instagram
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  • Andrew Burton via Getty Images
  • New York Daily News via Getty Images
  • New York Daily News via Getty Images
  • TIMOTHY A. CLARY via Getty Images
  • TIMOTHY A. CLARY via Getty Images
  • paddyg / Instagram
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