Community collects donations for displaced residents after Oak Park fire


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By Jean Lotus

Forest Park Review Editor

Oak Parkers head to Facebook to ask for donations for residents displaced by a three-alarm fire on the 500 block of North Humphrey Avenue early Wednesday morning.

Amy Pokras, owner of Pokras Law Offices, posted information about an event at Oak Park Temple aimed at helping the 15 families displaced by Wednesday's fire to the Facebook group Cool Oak Park Women.

"We will be selling gift cards for a few local stores," wrote Pokras in the post. "The cards will be delivered early next week to the Oak Park Regional Housing Corporation, which is spearheading the local relief efforts."

The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 7, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Patrons may purchase a gift card ranging from $5 to $100 with check or cash only.

Oak Park Temple is buying the cards through Glasser Preschool, therefore a portion of the proceeds from the gift cards will go to Glasser.

Another Oak Park resident who turned to Facebook with donation information is Derby Lite founder Barbara Dolan.

Dolan posted a list of donations that one family needs to the Journal's Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, information she copied from the Facebook page of a Percy Julian Middle School parent.

"So far we know that one displaced family needs the following, donations for which are being accepted at Oak Park Residence Corp, 21 South Blvd.," writes the Julian parent. "6th grade boy needs size 11 skinny, 7 yo sister, small for her age with size 15 feet. And a 9 yo brother with size 4 shoes. Mom needs size 7.5 shoes and size 4 clothes."

A disaster fund is being established by the Oak Park Residence Corp., OPRC Executive Director Maria Soldana said Wednesday. Those interested in giving cash donations may do so at the OPRC, 21 South Boulevard, 60302.

The fire started around 4:30 a.m. at 541 N. Humphrey. The building was unoccupied and was being renovated, said Village President Anan Abu-Taleb, who was on the scene. Flames jumped to the tile roof of the apartment building and burned through.

Sixty-five firefighters from nine different neighboring fire districts came to Oak Park to assist, Abu-Taleb said. Assisting departments included Stickney, Berwyn, Maywood, North Riverside, Elmwood Park, Cicero and Melrose Park. The roof of the house collapsed.

Police knocked on doors in the neighboring 13-unit apartment building and alerted sleeping residents who evacuated in a hurry — many in pajamas.

No one was injured during the fire.

Ashley Lisenby, Digital Editor, contributing to this piece.

Ashley Lisenby, Digital Editor, contributing to this piece.

Reader Comments

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Beth from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2014 10:22 PM

Yes, please confirm that your reporting is correct. 1 - the building has 15 units and all 15 families were displaced 2 - the Oak Park Temple is working directly with the Oak Park Residence Corporation - which is the landlord - not the Oak Park Regional Housing Center 3 - from the get go OPRC has stated that it will take financial donations in the form of money order or check - NO CASH Nuff' said I guess.


Posted: September 5th, 2014 10:38 PM

Please do your best to report correct information. Iowa and Humphrey is a 15 unit building, not 13. It was a fully occupied building. Every tenant and family has been effected.

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