Police and fire investigators suspect arson to be the cause of an apartment building fire yesterday morning that forced one woman to leap to her death and displaced forty residents, including 13 children.
The fire broke out around 5:20 yesterday morning behind the four-story building at 1745 W. Touhy, just east of Clark. The fire quickly spread up the rear staircase and into the apartments.
Tragically, Maria Silva, age 51, jumped from her third-story apartment before fire fighters could rescue her. She later died of injuries sustained in her fall.
Ms. Silva’s family established a Go Fund Me page to pay for her funeral.
Another resident suffered smoke inhalation and currently is hospitalized in fair to serious condition.
Police and fire investigators believe the fire was deliberately set and are awaiting lab results to confirm their suspicion. A surveillance camera captured a person at the site of the fire shortly before the fire started. Police have arrested and are questioning the individual as a “person of interest.”
My office staff yesterday helped the displaced residents of the building contact relatives and obtain copies of IDs that were lost in the fire. The American Red Cross provided the families with emergency shelter and limited financial aid.
My office is working with Northside Community Resources and local landlords to find permanent housing for the displaced residents. Good News Partners, Howard Area Community Center, Centro Romero, and St. Jerome’s Church are assisting in those efforts.
Local schools will provide emotional support and crisis counseling for their affected students. My office is arranging crisis counseling for the other victims.
How you can help
Many of the victims lost everything they have, so certainly their need is great. My office is receiving an outpouring of inquiries from Rogers Park residents on how they can help the families.
The best way to help these families is to donate money. Northside Community Resources created a donation page on its website through which you can donate.
Your donation will be used to provide the families with help on a security deposit and first month’s rent, plus clothing and basic household items.
Thank you Rogers Park residents for your incredible generosity.
I will continue to keep you informed on further developments.