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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

FINAL UPDATE - Deadly Fire in Hamilton - Please Help!

A tragedy has struck in my city of Hamilton, Ontario. Normally I would not notice such things as they happen far too frequently to focus on them every time, except that this time the tragedy hit friends of my daughter. A house fire early this morning took the life of a 24-year old man, roommate and close friend of my daughter's friends. His name was Leo Aguilar. His family has been notified and his name was released on social media earlier today. The other tenants of the house also lost absolutely everything they owned.

Needless to say, this was a shocking thing to hear upon waking this morning. The first thing I wanted to do was help them, and I have discovered that I was certainly not the only one. A group has formed on Facebook already with nearly 200 members. The outpouring of support is an amazing thing. They are in serious need of pretty much everything. At the moment they're asking for blankets and clothing.

The one female who resided at the address needs size 6 shoes, and clothing in size small. The males who rented rooms at the building are looking for clothing ranging from medium to XXXL. Anything that can be donated will be greatly appreciated. All of the former tenants have lost everything, which includes personal computers needed to look for work, pots and pans, and dishes. My daughter's friends have lost the supplies for their pets, too.

I know that my daughter's friends are also gamers, and they could really use a distraction right about now. If anyone has gaming consoles available, perhaps an old TV you're not using, along with a couple of games, I'm sure they'd appreciate it greatly. Spare mp3 players, you name it. Just think of all the things you would really miss if you had to do without them, that might be a comfort to you. At least one of them lost their cell phone, so a replacement handset that you've thrown in your old electronics box might be a big help - don't forget the charger. Most of us have some old electronics like that lying around.

Donations of material goods can be made at: St. Peters Anglican Church at 705 Main Street East at St. Clair in Hamilton. The hours when donations can be dropped off are between 10 AM and 9 PM Tuesday through Friday, and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 6 PM.

For any of you who don't know the extent or severity of this fire, check out the CHCH broadcast aired at 6 PM here. There is an event posted on Facebook - a fundraiser - and you can view the details here. There is apparently going to be a trust account set up. I will be tweeting the information, posting it on Google+, and pushing it to Facebook. If you're following me, you will get the information as soon as I have it.

Please try to help these folks out. They really need their community to come together. They've lost a friend, they're grieving, and the last thing they need to be worrying about right now is their material possessions. Thank you in advance to everyone who can help. Join the support group on Facebook here. They could definitely use your support. Re-tweet this blog posting so everyone you know gets the information. If you watch the newscast on CHCH, you'll understand why it was one of the most devastating things I've had to witness.

UPDATE - Just so everyone is aware, there was a great deal of salacious speculation involved in the broadcast by CHCH. A press release will be issued shortly by the persons directly involved in this tragedy, in order to correct the misconceptions. I will continue to update on this blog posting as information becomes available.

CHCH "News" postulated that there were suspicious circumstances, using the cuts on the victim's body as their reason for doing so, as well as the window breakage. However, according to eyewitnesses the window was broken by tenants in order to get their friend out of the burning building as quickly as possible. Mr. Aguilar received cuts from being dragged through the broken glass at this time.

SECOND UPDATE - Account information for a trust set up for the victims has been released. Deposits can be made to any CIBC, or transferred if you are not in Canada, to transit number 03862 and account number 8720487. Thank you in advance for any financial assistance you are able to offer at this time. These people will need to find new home, pay for moving expenses, replace items that they did not receive through donations, pay first and last month's rent (as per standard practices in Ontario, Canada), pay hook-ups charges for utility services as well as possible security deposits on those charges, and they may in fact require counseling services that are not covered by regular healthcare insurance. As you can likely imagine, watching a friend lose his life this way is extremely traumatic, and the trauma often takes some time to really sink in.

At this time they have enough blankets, pillows, pet supplie and clothing, but I would still like to stress that if you have entertainment or electronic items you are no longer using, I'm sure these would be appreciated. They have not asked for anything of the sort, and are very grateful for what they've already received, but it's a very difficult time for them and they really could use the distraction. Thanks for reading this and responding. It's been wonderful to see the response this blog posting has received, and the results that have been generated when people come together to help in situations such as these.

THIRD UPDATE - Information was released today on funeral arrangements for Leo Aguilar.

Open visitation on Saturday February 23 @ Friscolanti Funeral Chapel, 2:30pm - 4:00pm & 6:00pm-9:00pm (apologies for the delay on this, as it's too late now to appear for visitation).

Funeral services will proceed on Sunday February 24, at 3:00 PM, also at the Friscolanti Funeral Chapel. Cremation will follow the service.

Friscolanti Funeral Chapel is located at: 43 Barton Street East, Hamilton, ON

FOURTH & FINAL UPDATE - Additional information on donating that applies to donors outside of Canada. Please mail cheques payable to "Survivors" to 230 Weir Street North, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8H 5G3. Include the following account information: CIBC Transit # 03862, Account # 8720487.

Friscolanti Funeral Chapel - 43 Barton Street East, Hamilton, Ontario