Neighboring Ithaca restaurants help displaced employees after deadly crash
Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) One week after a tractor trailer crashed into a restaurant, killing one person and injuring seven others, displaced employees are getting by with support of neighboring restaurants. Signs of the deadly accident can still be seen in downtown Ithaca. Part of South Aurora Street remains closed and construction workers are clearing debris, as well as examining the building's structural safety. "Structurally, the building can be saved," said Ithaca Mayor (D) Svante Myrick. "We won't order it demolished, but whether or not it is saved is a decision the property owner will have to make, and it looks like that will be a financial decision." Last Friday, a tractor trailer carrying vehicles crashed into the building killing Amanda Bush, 27, from Lansing, and injuring several others. Workers from neighboring restaurants were the first ones on the scene. "Before even our firefighters and police officers were on the scene," Myrick said, "employees at the adjoining restaurants, Mahogany Grill and Viva, were running into the building to pull people out." Restaurants that were once fighting each other for business have now taken on employees from Simeon's Restaurant, who are still in need of a job. "In this service industry, a lot of people depend on their tips," said General Manager of Mahogany Grill Donaciano Quintin Jr. "They still have bills to pay, they still have rent, they still have other things to do." Regardless of the competitive business found on Aurora Street, Quintin said they treat each other like family. "When something like this happens, I guess nothing else matters," Quintin said. "It doesn't matter how many people we do in the night, you know, how much money, none of that matters when you see a tragedy like that." Four businesses still remain closed, leaving nearly 50 employees without a job. Co-owner of Simeon's Restaurant, Richard Avery, said the employees are still getting paid during this time. "Businesses really have stood up and really have tried to help where help was needed," said Gary Ferguson , Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, "just as if they would expect if it had been them. That's been a good thing to see." The city is now working on setting up a donation fund to help the all of employees impacted by the crash. The Amanda Bush memorial fund, set up by the mayor immediately after the accident, has already raised tens of thousands of dollars that will go to her family and 14-month-old daughter, Madison.