MINOOKA, IL — When Saturday night’s fire left a Minooka family of seven, plus their two dogs, three cats and three guinea pigs, without a place to live, Forepaws owner Megan Kurzweil jumped into action.
The fire happened at 610 Oakwood Street in the Arbor Lakes subdivision off Ridge Road. The Forepaws Pet Food Supplies is at the former Family Video store location, 453 South Ridge Road.
“The family are customers here, they bought their guinea pig supplies here,” Kurzweil told Joliet Patch’s editor.
On Sunday, she spread the word on the Forepaws Facebook page, asking people to donate clothes and other items to help the family ravaged by the fire. She said their home is considered a total loss.
All seven people made it outside safely. The family’s three guinea pigs, three cats and two dogs also escaped.
“I have this extra space, so I might as well use it,” Kurzweil said. “This was a local, good family that had a horrible thing happen. We need to band together as a community to help them out.”
Kurzweil said the family displaced by the fire are James and Holly Gossage along with their three children, Ryan, Maddison and Liam, plus Holly Gossage’s parents, Tracy and Dennis Doherty.
Nobody was injured in the fire on Oakwood Street, and the family’s dogs, cats and guinea pigs were also unharmed.
“They all got out of there safe and sound,” Kurzweil said.
By Monday afternoon, an entire back office at the Forepaws store was filled with items to help the Minooka family.
“There’s lots of clothes, shoes, household goods, coats, a lot of suitcases, bedding, the majority of it’s clothes, cookware, dishes,” Kurzweil said. “We’ve had gift cards and cash as well and that goes into a locked safe.
“This takes something off their plate. I figure they’re still reeling.”
In the middle of the store owner’s interview with Patch, an older woman walked inside to drop off another plastic bag filled with clothes and a purse.
The Forepaws store on South Ridge Road is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Minooka business owner said the displaced family is staying with out-of-town relatives until their home can be repaired.
Forepaws has been in Minooka the past six years. It used to be located in the shopping plaza with the ACE Hardware prior to moving into the empty Family Video store last October.