LOGAN SQUARE — The manager of Cozy Corner on Milwaukee Avenue is struggling after a fire last month destroyed her family’s home.
Manager Sheryl Peals said the fire was caused by people setting off fireworks — which hit a power line — during the Fourth of July. The electrical surge initially led to a power outage on the street, and then Peals’ home caught fire, she said.
Peals’ coworkers at Cozy Corner are raising money through GoFundMe to help her family recover from the blaze. It has a goal of $25,000 and has collected $860 so far.
Photos on the GoFundMe show wide destruction of Peals’ suburban Maywood home, with walls blackened, windows broken and household items destroyed.
Another home on the block caught fire before Peals’ did, which meant the Maywood Fire Department had limited resources to put it out, Peals said. They had to call in help from another town, she said.
A Maywood Fire Department official declined to confirm details about the fire because the investigation is ongoing.
“It happened so fast, and [the Maywood Fire Department was] still down the street putting that fire out,” said Peals, 30. “That’s the reason we lost everything. They weren’t able to help both homes, especially because they were already fighting that fire.”
Peals’ co-worker, Felix Sanchez, organized the online fundraiser for her after finding out about the incident. Cozy Corner, 2294 N. Milwaukee Ave., also put up signs in its restaurant encouraging people to help Peals if they can.
“It’ll help us get some clothes, get a home, just start over,” Peals said. “I mean, we need everything: shoes, clothes, beds, everything.”
Peals lived in the home with her dad and her 24-year-old sister. She lost her mom in October.
“That was probably the hardest part of it all,” Peals said. “We’re young; we can replace our things. But she’s no longer with us. And to lose all of her things — I think that probably hurt worse than anything.”
Peals said her father and sister motivate her to persevere through the loss.
“To be able to see a smile on their face again and have them in a home would mean the world to me,” Peals said.
You can donate to Peals here.
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