Library overwhelmed with donations for apartment fire victims

WARRENSBURG, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s a small village with a big heart. The people of Warrensburg sprung into action after several people were pushed from their homes following an apartment fire.

“It happened very quickly. Within that day, this room was almost full. It’s been amazing,” Barclay Public Library Director Michelle Sawicki said.

The library began accepting clothing and everyday items for the fire victims right away.

“There was a need, and we tried to serve our community. That’s what we’re all about,” she said.

Monday morning – a dramatic scene. People jumping from a second-story window to escape a fire in their apartment building. By Tuesday, neighbors are doing everything they can to help victims get their lives back on track.

“In fact, we’ve had to tell people that we can’t take some of the clothes that they want to keep bringing because we just don’t have room,” Sawicki said.

They have plenty of blankets, baby supplies and soap. But they don’t have enough clothes in extra-large sizes, children’s clothes or coats of various sizes.

“They need, like, right-now things. We had people in here this morning that were looking for jackets and we didn’t even have the right size for them. It just breaks my heart to turn people away when we don’t have those things. So, we definitely need jackets,” she said.

Sawicki said she’s keeping a list of people who need larger donations the library doesn’t have room for, like furniture. That way, when people stop by who would like to donate them, she can connect them and arrange pickups.

Village President Kirk Riley set up a fund at Buena Vista National Bank in Warrensburg. He said they’ve already collected several thousand dollars for the victims.

“In the world we live in today, it’s kind-of encouraging to see neighbors helping neighbors. That’s one of the biggest things… probably why people in Warrensburg live in Warrensburg,” Riley said.

One woman said she’s lived in the village her whole life.

“This community has always been very giving. The whole area has. I see there’s some Decatur and Forsyth people that are going to be giving too,” Jean Carlson said.

Many said they can’t imagine what the 27 victims are going through, and that’s why they donate. But others say they do it because they understand what it’s like to need help.

“We had a house that at one time, the pipes all froze. I know how it is to not have anything, so I think that it’s great that everyone stepped up,” Carlson said.

Some pets were lost in the fire, but some made it out. The Humane Society of Decatur and Macon County also wants to help by offering food and animal supplies, even temporary shelter for those who need it.

If you’d like to help, the Barclay Public Library will still be accepting material donations. They said they could use volunteers to sort the clothing, and you can call for more information on items that are most needed.

Riley said you can write a check or work with the Village Hall to send an electronic monetary donation to Buena Vista National Bank in Warrensburg. Lastly, he said if you want any more information on donation collections, you can visit or call the Village Hall.