Donation center to open for Oak Park fire victims

Oak Park Residence Corp. Building may be uninhabitable for months

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

The Oak Park Residence Corporation will open a donations center in a retail space at 2 Chicago Avenue Tuesday for residents displaced by a three-alarm fire that occurred on Sept. 3.

Last Wednesday's early morning fire started in a house on the 500 block of Humphrey Avenue that was under renovation and spread to an adjacent three-story apartment building, displacing 15 families.

While a number of items have been donated so far, including clothing and furniture, the OPRC is unsure when families will be able to return to the apartment building, executive director Maria Saldana said.

"We still don't know how long that's gonna take us," said Saldana. "I'm still talking to the construction consultants to try to figure that out."

At this point, the consultant company is still working on assessing damage to the roof of the building.

"We do know that it will take more than three months," said Saldana. How much longer beyond three months is the question the OPRC is trying to answer.

"Some [tenants] have found temporary housing renting through us or other landlords, some have decided to leave the area, some of them want to come back," said Saldana.

There are still items, and volunteers, needed for the donation center.

Saldana named detergent, paper towels, shampoo and bedding as a few of the kinds of items families may need. Winter clothes, toiletries, clothing, household cleaning supplies, furniture, kitchenware and electronics are also needed. The group, however, is not accepting food or anything perishable.

"The Oak Park Residence Corporation is grateful to the various local businesses, organizations and landlords, and the many volunteers who have assisted our displaced tenants over the past five days," wrote assistant executive director Beth Swaggerty in the comment section on oakpark.com. "The outpouring of support has been remarkable."

Swaggerty thanked local businesses, organizations, landlords as well as the Oak Park Police Department and the nine fire departments "who ensured the safety of all our tenants and their pets."

Money order and check donations for displaced tenants can be sent to OPRC 21 South Boulevard, Oak Park, IL, 60302.

"We also welcome and encourage gift cards for grocery and/or general merchandise stores," wrote Swaggerty.

The OPRC donation center is open through Thursday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

Reader Comments

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Donna  

Posted: September 9th, 2014 9:56 AM

Winter clothes needed, esp for adults, and larger sizes.

Beth Swaggerty from Oak Park  

Posted: September 8th, 2014 9:07 PM

More information: Now that we have had a chance to organize many of the donations - we are still in need of towels, bedding, toiletries, jackets, socks, clothing, household cleaning supplies, furniture, dishes and glassware, small appliances and electronics. If you would like to make a financial donation - money order or check - (no cash) those can be sent to OPRC 21 South Blvd. Oak Park, IL 60302. We also welcome and encourage gift cards for grocery and/or general merchandise stores.

Beth Swaggerty from Oak Park   

Posted: September 8th, 2014 8:57 PM

One small correction. There were actually 15 families displaced by the fire. The Oak Park Residence Corporation is grateful to the various local businesses, organizations and landlords, and the many volunteers who have assisted our displaced tenants over the past five days. The out pouring of support has been remarkable. We are also grateful to the OP Police Dept. and the 9 responding Fire Departments who ensured the safety of all our tenants and their pets. Beth Swaggerty OPRC

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