ALBANY PARK — Fans of Diamond Dogs Day Care are helping the business recover after it suffered thousands of dollars in damage during Monday’s storm.
The powerful winds snapped off large branches from the trees next to the building at 3800 W. Montrose Ave. As the branches fell they pulled down power lines which caused a fire at the building, said Liz Ortiz, Diamond Dogs’ owner.
Larry Langford, a Fire Department spokesman, confirmed crews responded to a fire at the building around 5 p.m. Monday.
Neighbors Cole Salazar Duarte and Drew Straight rushed from across the street to help Ortiz, who’d hurried to the daycare with her family to help an employee and three dogs still in the building.
“All the downed wires were in the street and everything was all wet from the rain. It was very scary. I panicked a lot. But it was so great because once my neighbors realized there was a fire they ran home and came back with like 20 fire extinguishers,” Ortiz said.
Straight took off his shirt and wrapped it around his hand to pull the front door open. Once inside, Straight and Ortiz’s son used a fire extinguisher and a hose attached to the utility sink where the dogs are bathed to put out the fire and get near the dogs’ cages.
“It was really smoky in there and I had to put my shirt around my face,” Straight said. “We got all the dogs out and I thought we had stopped the fire. But the smoke started getting worse so we got out of there, too.”
Ortiz took the dogs to her home where they could safely wait to be picked up by their owners. A fire truck arrived and put out the fire before pulling a “u-turn” and rushing to put out another fire in the neighborhood, Duarte said.
Ortiz says the building is salvageable but the repairs will cost about $5,000.
Customer Heather Fitch heard about the fire and launched a GoFundMe Tuesday to help Ortiz. She lives in the neighborhood and often takes her 3-year-old Siberian Husky, Nadia, to Diamond Dogs.
“I like taking Nadia there because I can tell that they really care about the dogs and Liz has put her heart and soul into this business,” Fitch said.
As of Thursday the GoFundMe has raised $150 of its $500 goal.
“No one was seriously hurt or died which means we’re blessed. That’s the main thing,” Ortiz said. “And it’s very nice of Heather to do this fundraiser. It was out of the blue and I didn’t expect anyone to do anything like this for us.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.