Lake Zurich community rallies behind parks department after Paulus Park Barn fire

  • A fire gutted Lake Zurich's Paulus Park Barn on Saturday night, forcing the cancellation of numerous parks department programs. But thanks to an overwhelming amount of community support, those programs should be back up and running next week, officials say.

      A fire gutted Lake Zurich's Paulus Park Barn on Saturday night, forcing the cancellation of numerous parks department programs. But thanks to an overwhelming amount of community support, those programs should be back up and running next week, officials say. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/7/2019 6:27 PM

The fire that gutted the barn at Paulus Park in Lake Zurich Saturday will postpone the village's parks and recreation department programs for only a little more than a week thanks to an overwhelming amount of community support, officials said Thursday.

Recreation Director Bonnie Caputo said all of the programs that had been run out of the barn will be relaunched in different locations by Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The past three days have seen a steady stream of people at the park department's Buffalo Creek location dropping off donations, including school supplies and toys for the displaced preschool program, Caputo said.

Because of extensive smoke damage, all of the supplies stored at the barn are off-limits until they are inspected by insurance company officials.

"This community, I can't even tell you," Caputo said. "It just touches your heart."

Preschool programs will be temporarily relocated to St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich.

Pastor Ruth Farrell said she met with church leaders on Sunday and they decided to help any way they could. The church has been renting space to the department for other preschool programs for years, and it will free up another classroom across the hall to house the displaced program.

"We're so glad to be able to be part of this village and delighted to help," Farrell said.

Caputo said the list of people and organizations she has to thank is long and growing by the day.

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"It's been lovely to hear what an impact parks and rec has made on people over the years," Caputo said. "I can't put into words how incredibly thankful we are for the support of our community at this time."

Lake Zurich Fire Chief John Malcolm said Thursday that investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

The blaze started just before 8:25 p.m. Saturday, and the barn sustained significant water, heat and smoke damage. No one was inside the building when the fire started, and no injuries were reported.

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