Dozens left homeless after Richton Park fire now receiving holiday surprises

Michelle Gallardo Image
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Dozens left homeless after Richton Park fire now receiving holiday surprises
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Dozens were displaced after an apartment building fire in Richton Park; now the victims are getting some extra help.

RICHTON PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- A Christmas surprise: It's been nearly three weeks since a kitchen fire tore through Leah McCaskill's Richton Park apartment building.

She, along with 23 other families, were left unhurt, but homeless, all of their possessions gone.

"My children made it out safe. All the other families are safe and everything. That's what's keeping me going," McCaskill said.

McCaskill has found a new place to live, but is starting from scratch.

On Thursday, that effort was made a bit easier by Chicago-area publicist Sean Howard, whose fiance and adult children all agreed to forgo their own Christmas presents to help this single mother of two, presenting her with a $1,500 shopping spree at a local Walmart, along with $500 cash.

RELATED: Richton Park families displaced by apartment fire surprised with gift cards, clothing

The community came together to help some 30 families who lost everything in a fire.

"I really got a little teary-eyed. I have twins that are four months. I can't imagine what you're going through. My heart really does go out to you," Chanel Howard said.

McCaskill said she's extremely grateful for the surprise.

"This is a huge blessing I didn't know we were going to get. I'm very thankful. I'm very grateful," she said.

And it's not just McCaskill. There's been a huge outpouring of support for those left homeless by that devastating fire.

The village of Richton Park continues to collect donations for all 24 families.