GoFundMe for artist displaced by Old City fire tops $20,000 in 24 hours

The Philly pet-loving community is stepping up to help one of its own.

Al Gury and one of his former cats

Al Gury and one of his former cats


Updated Feb. 19

Al Gury was one of the people affected worst by the fire in Old City Sunday morning.

A painter and illustrator who’s on faculty at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, Gury lost nearly all his belongings including his wallet, he told PMN, when the blaze gutted 239 Chestnut St., which was his longtime studio and home.

He also lost his five cats and one foster kitten, along with his pet parakeets — all considered killed in the fire.

Gury is well-known among the pet adoption crowd for his willingness to foster abandoned cats, and the community is stepping up to repay his kindness over the years by providing some financial help to get him back on his feet.

A GoFundMe started by Dana Leuth Byrnes, an animal care worker in Philadelphia who’s known Gury for a decade, reached its $20,000 goal within 24 hours of being set up.

More than 400 people have contributed to the fund, which was hovering around $23,000 by 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 19. Per Byrnes, Gury is currently safe at a friend’s house, and is concentrating on how to get his own place again soon — one where he can pick up his care of cats.

Monday afternoon, Billy Penn received word of a GoFundMe for a second resident of 239 Chestnut St.: Phil Weber. Weber was also left without his wallet and all his belongings, though he was able to save his golden retriever. His fundraiser was at less than $2,000 at time of writing — donate here.

Update: Apparently there are two separate GoFundMe campaigns for Al Gury. The other one — which was created on Feb. 18, a day after the first  — just zoomed past its $50,000 goal.

Have info on how people can help others displaced by the fire? Email us.

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