Fire destroys resale shop benefiting women

June 21, 2010 (PALATINE, Ill.)

The 10,000 square foot Palatine resale shop located at 756 E. Northwest Highway was destroyed in a fire during Friday's storm.

"We might get between $50,000 and $150,000 back from insurance. The other thing is the merchandise that was inside is not covered. It was donated materials," said Rita Canning, chairman of Wings.

The store raises hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from donated merchandise. The proceeds go directly to stabilize women and children who are the victims of domestic violence by providing them emergency shelter and other services in the area.

Wings stands for women in need growing stronger.

"It is a loss at a time that we can least afford it. We have just recently cut our budget by half a million dollars because contributions are down, as they have been in the recent years due to the economy," said Canning.

City of Palatine officials say that Wings is an important part of the community and that once they determine their short and long term needs they will work with them.

"The village is doing everything they can to be supportive. They reached out to us to see if we can meet with them to look at other locations where we might be able to at least set up a location to accept donations," said Rebecca Darr, Wings executive directorr.

Fire officials say the building had a bowstring truss roof, a style which can quickly fail when damaged by fire. No one was injured in the flames.

"The building itself had an electrical explosion. That made us decide to back away...we do know that it's likely that it is electrical in nature, and as far as what the sequence of events were, we are trying to get to the bottom of that," said Bob Falardeau, Palatine fire chief.

Darr says every day the store is closed they lose at least $2,000. The store and merchandise, she says, would be impossible to replace.

"To even set up a store we need the fixtures and cash registers and shelving and all that stuff. We are looking to the business community to help us with that," said Darr.

The Palatine Wings store is one of three Wings locations and the most profitable one. It was purchased for $400,000 11 years ago and the store owes a mortgage of over $500,000.

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