A good Samaritan has decided to spring for hotel rooms for 70 individuals who had been cleared from a homeless camp in downtown Chicago after heaps of gas tanks were seized, leaving them without any source of heat.
“Isn’t that amazing?” Stated Jacqueline Rachev, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, which was checking on the makeshift camp of tents and blankets on Roosevelt Road near the Dan Ryan Expressway. “At least they are warm and they are secure.”
Close to a dozen tents were put up on a vacant lot not far from Willis Tower, a lot of these heated with mobile propane tanks as the temperature dropped into the minus 20s Wednesday morning.
No one was hurt but reacting crews came across about 100 other tanks at the encampment and confiscated them due to the security risk.
“When we got there, the flame was extinguished and they found all these propane cylinders. That is when we escalated it to a degree 1 hazmat,” stated Fire Chief Walter Schroeder, speaking to a hazardous substance awake.
“There was a significant amount of propane there,” he added. “And with that many cylinders, that’s like a bomb going off.”
City officials advised Rachev, who began preparations to move individuals from the camp to the Salvation Army’s warming center at 825 N. Christiana Ave. About an hour after, the town called and said somebody someone had offered to put the residents at a hotel for the remainder of the week.
“All the people there,” Rachez explained. “Some wonderful citizen is going to place all them up at a hotel for the remainder of the week.”
Only one man decided to not take the offer and instead checked into the heating center on Christiana, called the Freedom Center.
Rachev didn’t know the identity of the good Samaritan, and just knew the hotel was on the South Side.