After family loses everything in Old Irving Park fire, St. Bart's Catholic School community jumps in

Neighboring students at St. Ferdinand pitched in, too
CHICAGO (WLS) -- After a large fire destroyed the home of three families, the St. Bartholomew community rallied to help in a big way.

It was a joyful moment one family really needs, and it all started when they lost everything.

"We lost everything. We lost shoes, beds, computers for my kids in college; we lost absolutely everything," Hiromi Romano said Monday.

They also lost two beloved pets, Bella and Gigi.

Last month, a fire broke out at their home in the 4600-block of West Warwick Avenue in Chicago's Old Irving Park neighborhood.

The family said it was started by a faulty furnace on the second floor and quickly spread. Now, three families are displaced and need to start over.

RELATED: Deadly Old Irving Park fire likely caused by 'careless use of smoking materials': investigators

Word about the fire spread, and the families' St. Bart's Catholic School community jumped in to help.

Quickly after, neighboring school students at St. Ferdinand jumped in to help, too, selling bracelets to raise funds to purchase basic items and toiletries to present to the families Monday.

"I feel so blessed, because we ... are homeless, and it's hard part to tell my kids (we) are homeless, and it's very hard," Romano said.

Romano and her family, along with her neighbor, are staying in temporary housing right now. They hope to find something permanent soon so they can begin to rebuild their lives.

She said her kids have been hit hard because they don't know another neighborhood. They'd lived there since they were born.

To donate to help the families affected, visit GoFundMe.com.
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