The blaze destroyed the decks of the apartment building. (Bridget Doyle/Photo for RedEye)
Saturday afternoon’s fire hit close to home for me. And I mean that both literally and figuratively – the blaze took place two buildings down from my apartment.
After an afternoon jaunt in Wicker Park with a friend, I returned home Saturday to find my block completely shut off from traffic, dozens of fire trucks and nearly 100 firefighters lining my street. Outside I found the people I see everyday — commuting to the L, walking their dogs and out on the weekends — distressed and crying as they watched firefighters put out a extra-alarm blaze ravaging their home and belongings.
I heard some people who weren’t home during the fire lost pets, which is absolutely devastating.
As I’m sure many around me thought – this could have easily happened to me as it could to any other renter in the area. We live in close quarters, and fires get out of control quickly. I don’t have renter’s insurance currently (which is changing this week).
So, my plea to my neighbors is this: let’s be good neighbors and step up to help.
The Caribou Coffee at Halsted and Cornelia Avenues is taking donations for victims of the fire through the rest of the week. Heather, an employee of the neighborhood coffee joint, said they’re accepting just about everything – clothing, toiletries, pet items and money to name a few. Caribou is collecting the items and cash to pass along to the Salvation Army who has a list of the victims of the fire, Heather said.
There’s a drop-box in the store for items, and the cashiers are taking the money donations behind the counter for safekeeping, Heather said.
I’m just as broke as every other twenty-something renter in my neighborhood, but let’s pay it forward and do what we can to help our neighbors.
If this happened to me, I’d hope my neighborhood would step up and do just the same.
The Caribou Coffee accepting donations is located at 3500 N. Halsted Ave.
Bridget Doyle is a RedEye blogger and a TribLocal reporter for the Chicago Tribune.