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Victims of Richmond fire in need of help, shelter

Mingazi Shaza and her mother, Cirlene, lost everything in the fire that occurred at the Reserve South Apartments on March 10, including their beloved dog and ca
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2022 at 8:21 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Mingazi Shaza and her mother, Cirlene, lost everything in the fire that occurred at the Reserve South Apartments on March 10, including their beloved dog and cat.

Both women were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.

The Red Cross provided accommodations for two days after the fire, but Mingazi couldn’t find an affordable place to stay when that ended.

“After we got the help that we did get, we didn’t receive any other help or resources,” Mingazi said.

Now, she is living on the floor of her thrift shop, going to and from the ICU to check on her mother, who is still extremely ill.

“I’m just hoping that I can get some help because I really don’t know what to do emotionally,” Mingazi said in tears. “This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through in my life.”

Mingazi says to make matters worse, she cannot return to her job as a hairstylist at the moment.

She says she has blood clotting in her arms and residual effects from the smoke inhalation, weakening her.

Mingazi started an online fundraiser to try to raise funds to find a more permanent place to stay and ensure she can care for her mother once she gets out of the ICU.

“I’m usually a really happy person, but with everything that’s going on, I’m just so sad about everything,” she said while crying.

Unable to make ends meet, Mingazi reached out to the landlord of her shop, Michele Chiocca.

“She has rented from me since 2016 and has been the best tenant, never complains. Always pays her rent,” Chiocca said.

Chiocca was shocked to hear that her tenant had no other home but her own shop.

“To me, I couldn’t have that happen because she’s always been such a hard worker,” she said. “For someone like her to fall on hard times, I just had to reach out, so hopefully, something can be done to help her.”

She reached out to NBC12 to put out a call for help.

“She’s on medication, she’s got blood clots, and she’s basically living on the floor. So I can help with this rent; we just need someone to help her with her living conditions,” Chiocca said.

Mingazi says she is thankful for people like Chiocca, who are keeping her afloat.

“She’s awesome. I feel hopeful, but it’s still really hard because I just I really don’t even understand what’s going on some days,” she said.

To donate to Mingazi’s online fundraiser, click here.

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