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Community supports Lemont couple who lost home to fire

Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 2:59 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:39 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
A house in the 300 block of Division Street in Lemont was extensively damaged in a fire on Sunday. Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
A house in the 300 block of Division Street in Lemont was extensively damaged in a fire on Sunday. Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com

LEMONT – No injuries were reported Sunday after a fire that destroyed the home of Rich and Tricia Kuczkowski in the 300 block of East Division Street in Lemont.

Lemont Fire Chief George Rimbo said a neighbor called the Lemont Fire Protection District at about 1 p.m. and notified first responders that a home was on fire. Nobody was in the home during the fire.

"We did try to make some interior attacks, but there was too much fire," Rimbo said.

Crews took a defensive position outside the house and fought the fire for at least three hours while also combating the mid-80s temperatures in the afternoon, he said.

He said the house is a total loss and two cats died in the fire.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Brandy Kuczkowski, the daughter of Rich and Tricia, said her parents were going to her brother's house in Lockport to do some gardening when the fire occured.

She said a family friend contacted her mother about the fire and estimates they arrived at the scene about a half hour after the fire was reported.

Barbara, who lives in Lemont, said the house was the childhood home for her and her brother, also named Rich.

Rich and Tricia are staying with their son for the time being.

"It's going to be a long process that they're going to go through," Barbara said. "They need a whole new house, a whole new life."

Rich and Tricia were able to go through the house on Tuesday, she said.

"They found their wedding album that was a little damaged but salvagable," she said.

The Lemont community has been rallying to help them.

Terri O'Neill-Borders has been leading the effort through her Hope and Friendship Foundation.

"They're completely overwhelmed with the community support that has been pouring in from everywhere," Barbara said. "People they don't know have been donating."

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Helping out

The Tap House Grill will host a fundraiser all day Thursday, June 5, with 10 percent of proceeds benefiting the Kuczkowski family. Donations can also be made to a PayPal account at www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com, designating the money for the Kuczkowski family.

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