Fundraiser held for firefighter hurt in Cicero blaze

March 9, 2010 4:38:51 AM PST
Shawn Ahrens was reluctant to be the center of attention, but he was the man of the hour Monday night during a fundraiser in his honor.

"It blows my mind that this many people came out...I can't even put it into words," said Ahrens.

Ahrens is a Cicero firefighter, who was hurt last month while fighting a fire that swept through an apartment building, killing seven people.

Ahrens was seriously injured when a chimney fell through the roof and has been sidelined from all three of his jobs: firefighter, fire investigator and window washer. His wife was laid off last year, and both are trying to support their son and a terminally ill daughter with special needs. So hundreds of firefighters paid $25 a head to help with their expenses.

Ahren's father is just thankful he has his son.

"Thank God he came around. They worked on him. A miracle," said Dennis Ahrens, father.

The fire that broke out early on Valentine's Day was arson at the hands of the building's owner and maintenance man, according to prosecutors. Lawrence Myers and Marion Comier were both charged last week with first degree murder and arson. Prosecutors say Myers hired Comier to torch the building to cash in on a quarter million dollar insurance policy. Six members of a family, including a 3-day old baby and a family friend were killed.

"It's a despicable act that people can kill people just for money. It's money. You can always make more of it. You can't replace human lives," said Ahrens.

On Tuesday morning, Cicero town president Larry Dominick will make a statement during the town board meeting urging state's attorney Anita Alvarez to seek the death penalty against Myers and Comier.