PILSEN — A devastating fire ripped through her family's three-story building early Sunday, but landlord Elaine Perez promises to rebuild.
Two dozen people were displaced from their homes by the blaze.
Firefighters were called at 1:40 a.m. to a building at 1902 W. 21st St., and the extra-alarm blaze spread to a second apartment building, owned by Perez's family, forcing a total of 25 people from their homes.
Sifting through debris Monday, 53-year-old Perez said that her aunt and uncle were asleep on the third floor when flames burst through the kitchen. Perez was sleeping in an apartment on the second floor.
Perez's mother, who also lived in the building, has owned the six-unit home for 50 years. All her tenants escaped unscathed, but her aunt's cat, Felix, still is missing.
"I took pride in my place; I made you feel loved, comfortable," Perez said, looking at the sky from a burned-out third-floor apartment. "I wasn't busting anybody for the money."
The building's tenants have taken refuge with friends and family for now, Perez said.
As she spoke to a tenant outside the crumbling building, a mailman stopped by the drop off the mail.
"I guess I'll take the mail for now," Perez said.
The Perez family will need financial help to rebuild on 21st Street. To help, contact Perez by email at LadyElaine21@gmail.com