A 44-year-old woman is charged with setting last week’s fire at an apartment building on Touhy, just east of Clark, that caused the death of another woman when she jumped from the top floor of the building.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office charged Margaret Reed, a Lincoln Square resident, with two counts of murder and a count of aggravated arson–all felonies. She is being held without bail.
Reed is believed to be the person who set the fire last Tuesday morning behind 1745 W. Touhy. Surveillance cameras recorded Reed at the site of the fire shortly before it started, leading detectives to interview her.
The victim, Maria Silva, jumped from the top floor of the building before fire fighters could rescue her. She died from injuries sustained in the fall.
Maria’s family posted a “Go Fund Me” page on Facebook to underwrite the cost of her funeral. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Rogers Park residents who donated, the family reports they raised enough money to pay for her funeral and burial expenses.
The remaining survivors still need your help, however. The fire displaced 34 people, including nine children. Many were left literally with only the clothes on their backs.
My office, working with Northside Community Resources, created a donation page through which Rogers Park neighbors can provide financial support to the victims. The money raised will be used to provide the families with help on a security deposit and first month’s rent, plus clothing and basic household items.
Please make your donation by next Monday, June 18th.
You also can donate clothing and basic household items (such as toiletries and kitchen tools) at these locations:
- St. Jerome’s Church, 1707 W. Lunt
- Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood
- New Field School, 1707 W. Morse
- Sullivan High School, 6631 N. Bosworth
My office assisted the victims with obtaining duplicate copies of forms of identification, getting their security deposits and June rent refunded, determining their housing needs and arranging for crisis counseling as needed.
We are working with Northside Community Resources and members of the Rogers Park Builders Group to find permanent housing for the displaced residents.
My office also enlisted the help of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who are going above and beyond to help the victims with rental assistance and an array of wraparound services. Catholic Charities assigned case managers to guide the families through every step of the apartment rental process, such as tips in finding apartments, handling landlord disputes, and the like.
Finally, the Mexican Consulate’s office is working diligently with my office to provide the victims with assistance receiving duplicate copies of important identification, helping Maria Silva’s family with funeral expenses, and providing some financial help to the residents of the building.
My thanks to all the organizations who have helped us care for these families at their greatest time of need. And a special thank you to the scores of Rogers Park residents who dug deep into their pockets to provide the financial assistance these families so desperately need. We are indeed a compassionate and caring community.
I will continue to keep you informed on further developments.