New home for Pleasantville family displaced by fire
Updated: May 13
A Pleasantville family who lost their home to a devastating fire will soon have a new place to live. Friends James Pressley and Jason Smart-El joined together to find an apartment for the family of three, who are now just waiting for a certificate of occupancy. “Both James and Jason are like no other people I have ever met in my life,” said Jennifer Capone-Ortega. “They are truly special and we are truly blessed to have them in our lives.” Capone-Ortega, her husband, Hector Ortega, and their 7-year-old daughter, Bianca, had just gotten home with McDonald’s Sunday when Ortega went to go out the back door and saw the flames. What they thought was just a small fire traveled into the eaves, aided — according to Fire Chief Steve Wilkins — by completed renovations and a balloon construction. Everything was lost but the clothes on their back and one another. But now, people have come from everywhere offering clothing, furniture and gift cards. Capone-Ortega’s oldest daughter started a GoFundMe page that has so far raised more than $2,800 of the $5,000 goal.
Pressley and Smart-El have taken on the task of collecting donations and on Thursday, moved the family to a new motel until their apartment is ready. “Today, we walked them through their new apartment,” Pressley said of the place in Mays Landing. “We were able to accomplish this with the help of an area doctor who did not want to be mentioned by name,” Pressley said. For anyone who wants to donate clothes, Bianca Ortega is a child’s size 7-8 or medium, and a size 2 in shoes. Capone-Ortega is a 16 or extra-large, with a 7½ shoe. Hector Ortega is a men’s double extra –large, a 36-34 pants and a size 12 shoe.