Fire-ravaged flower shop, A Flower Patch, gets new hope after community rallies to save it

LAKE WORTH, Fla. –– Betsy and Todd Hillman plan to reopen their "mom and pop" flower shop in suburban Lake Worth after the community came together offering to help them in a time of need, Betsy Hillman said this morning.

"Yesterday it didn't seem possible that we would be able to pull anything together," she said.

After hearing about the fire that ravaged A Flower Patch early Wednesday morning, electricians and plumbers have offered to donate their services. Community members and longtime customers arrived at the shop, without a word of notice, with a shovel in hand to start the cleaning.

More than a dozen Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews were called to the shop at 3435 S. Military Trail at 4:06 a.m. Wednesday. The fire, which started in the back of the store, is believed to have been caused by an electrical problem.

The store's future was uncertain yesterday. The Hillmans had canceled their insurance four months ago so they would have money to pay their employees.

"People have said they don't want to lose it. They will do whatever it takes to get us up and running because they've been coming here for 25 or 30 years, and they're not going to let us go," she said. "It lifted our spirits and we are ready to plow in and make it happen with everyone's help."

Betsy Hillman said she is expecting about 50 people to come to the shop Saturday and help clean.

The Greenacres Neighborhood Watch opened relief fund at Chase Bank.

Donations for the "A Flower Patch" fund can be made at any Chase branch.

"It's just amazing," Betsy Hillman said.

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