Members of the NIU community are raising funds for two former students who are currently being treated for life-threatening injuries after a fire broke out in an apartment Friday.
The DeKalb Fire Department responded to a call early Friday morning of an apartment fire at 1400 W. Lincoln Highway. The department found one injured victim outside the building and another one inside.
Fire crews entered the apartment, rescued the second victim and provided medical treatment. The two victims were transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford with life-threatening injuries.
Two GoFundMe pages have been set up to help cover medical costs for Alyssa Noonen and Matt Zamudio, who both graduated in December.
Kaela Malloe, NIU alumna and friend of Noonen, said she created the GoFundMe to take some of the weight off of the shoulders of Noonen’s parents.
“The first thing I did obviously was cry,” Malloe said. “I mean, you don’t really know what happened or what to expect, especially when it’s your best friend that went through something like that.”
Noonen will remain medically sedated until further notice to help with pain reduction and heal time, Malloe said.
“Donate if you can, spread the word if you can, but just make sure that you tell the people that you love, that you love them because you just never, never know what could happen,” Malloe said.
Zamudio is also medically sedated and sustained severe injuries including third-degree burns, said Dominique Sella, NIU alumna and friend of Zamudio.
Sella also helped create a GoFundMe page for Zamudio to help cover medical costs. As fashion merchandising students, Sella said Zamudio was her rock in college because of his positive personality.
“The least we can do is to make sure that when he wakes up, he knows he’s taken care of,” Sella said. “That’s really what we wanted the GoFundMe for, so he can replace everything he lost because his apartment was gutted and for his medical bills.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the apartment was deemed inhabitable with damages amounting to $150,000.
“It’s just a really long road ahead and every little bit of support counts,” Sella said.
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