A fundraiser is scheduled Wednesday, Dec. 12, for a single mother whose Roselle rental home was destroyed by fire just days after she moved in.
"I have never been more devastated in 56 years of life," fire victim Donna Rozycki said.
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Rozycki was hosting a sleepover Nov. 25 for her teenage daughter, Katlyn Hanson, who had invited several classmates from Lake Park High School. At 5:30 a.m., a smoke alarm woke the group sleeping in the home on the 200 block of Royce Lane.
"They woke up to black smoke and flames," said family friend Ellen Rapacz, who is organizing an account through Chase Bank and PayPal to collect donations.
Roselle firefighters said they arrived at the home minutes after the alarm sounded and found the blaze had extended to the roof and the garage was fully engulfed in flames.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.
Rozycki, her daughter, five friends and three dogs escaped unharmed. But two cars in the driveway were damaged and barely anything inside was salvageable. The family had no renters insurance and their car insurance had lapsed, Rapacz said.
In addition, Rozycki works as a legislative assistant for state Sen. Carole Pankau, who did not win re-election last month. So Rapacz said her friend already was preparing to lose her job.
Now, Rapacz and other family friends will hold a fundraiser for the mother and daughter from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Medinah Shriners hall, 550 N. Shriners Drive, Addison. Tickets are $20 and include food and a cash bar.
Community members wanting details or to make donations can visit donnarozyckifirefund.org.
The group also is accepting gift card donations from Walmart, Harlem Furniture, Target and Visa that can be sent to Ellen Rapacz, 112 N. Windham Lane, Bloomingdale, IL 60108. For details, call her at (630) 351-2524.
In addition, donors can contribute funds to the Katlyn Hanson account at Chase Bank on Gary Avenue and Schick Road in Bloomingdale. Ask for Mike Scherenberg or call (630)-980-2200.
Rapacz said the donations are crucial because the family has nothing left and would like to find a home that accommodates their dogs. They would like to relocate in the area so Katlyn can remain at Lake Park High School.
"Finding a place for them is tricky this time of year," Rapacz said. "It's a very bad situation. We have received some help, but we will need a lot more."