PORT JEFFERSON - A Ward Melville High School baseball coach is feeling the support from his community after a fast-moving fire destroyed his home in Port Jefferson last month.
The flames were relentless when they broke out in the middle of the night at the Highlands condo complex on May 30. No one was hurt, but the fire and smoke damaged several homes.
So far, a GoFundMe page set up last week for Lou Petrucci has raised more than $33,000.
"I just can't express my gratitude to the people of the community," says Petrucci.
Petrucci has guided many star athletes, including Stony Brook native Steven Matz, now a pitcher for the New York Mets. Even players he didn't coach are helping.
"People I thought hated me, they donated money. And now I got to be nice to them, I think. But I can't be too nice. My players want us to win," says Petrucci.
Matt Marsh, Ward Melville's junior varsity baseball coach, credits Petrucci for making Port Jefferson "a town that cares about baseball."