Highland Park, News

Community steps up for Highland Park family displaced by house fire

GoFundMe nearly triples goal while neighbors set up drive for necessities

Alexander Morales, the owner of Northshore Cleanaholics, said his family appreciates the Highland Park community, even in the face of the tragedy they are experiencing.

The Morales family set up a GoFundMe digital fundraiser to offset the costs of clothing, food and personal hygiene items that they lost during the fire that damaged their house on Aug. 9 in Highland Park.

The Morales family created the fundraiser on the day of the fire, following encouragement from clients and other family members, and set a goal of $5,000. They met that goal on the same day and have now raised more than $14,500.

“With the donations, how fast they came and how many people started reaching out to us, it’s really surreal,” Morales said. “But it makes you feel super happy, with how terrible the situation is, it gives you a little bit of hope.”

Morales, who took over the seven-year-old business from his father in 2020, said Northshore Cleanaholics offers services such as hoarder clean-outs, window washing, gutter cleaning, commercial and residential cleaning for several towns in the area, including Glenview, Northbrook, Highland Park, Highwood and Lake Forest.

Firefighters on the scene of the Morales house fire Aug. 9 on Country Lane in Highland Park. | PHOTO BY NORTH SHORE UPDATES/CAPTUREDNEWS

Morales, 22, lived in his house, located on Country Lane just north of Lake Cook Road, with his wife, two parents and two siblings (10-year-old brother and 20-year-old sister). He said all of the rooms are completely burned.

He said that while the family’s insurance will cover much of the home reconstruction, the donations will go toward replacing clothes, shoes and other things of sentimental value.

“With it being such a traumatic experience for my little brother and us as well, the funds are going to go toward some therapy sessions just because it was all just super traumatic,” Morales said.

The Morales family stayed with another sibling in Highland Park for a week and a half after the fire. They recently relocated to a temporary house in Northbrook where they will stay for a year to 18 months depending on developments with their home.

Morales said their neighbors started a drive for their family, where they collected shoes, socks and other necessities.

“It really just makes everything so much easier on us, knowing that we’ve made an impact on the community and people really do appreciate all the work that we do,” Morales said. “We can always count on them, whether it’s our clients or our neighbors.”

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Rosie Newmark

Rosie Newmark is a 2023 Record intern and an incoming senior studying journalism and history at Northwestern University. Rosie has written for multiple campus publications in addition to the Hyde Park Herald and American Libraries Magazine.

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