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Anonymous donor provides hotel rooms for 70 homeless people freezing in Chicago

Posted at 11:48 AM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 12:48:30-05

With frigid, howling winds spreading across the Midwest, it’s a potentially life-threatening situation for those who have to live through it.

It’s also producing some stories of benevolence, like the good Samaritan in Chicago who paid for hotel rooms for a group of homeless people after learning they were camping with no source of heat in the record-breaking cold.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Jacqueline Rachev told the Chicago Tribune that the 70 homeless people spent Tuesday night camping in tents near the University Village/Little Italy neighborhood west of downtown Chicago.

The group used 100 donated propane tanks to keep them warm as temperatures dropped to minus-22 degrees with a wind chill factor of minus-49 degrees below zero on Wednesday morning.

That heat source ended when one of the propane tanks exploded. It led Chicago Fire Department chief Walter Schroder to tell the group they couldn’t use the tanks any longer.

Schroeder said the propane tanks could have produced an explosion that could be “like a bomb going off.”

That’s when the Salvation Army sprang into action, making plans to send the group to a warming station.

They soon learned that an anonymous donor offered to put the entire group in a hotel on Chicago’s south side.

“It’s a deadly situation for anyone,” Rachev told the Washington Post. “We’re thrilled that somebody was in a position to be able to do this.”

The frigid temperatures caused by the polar vortex have killed at least 11 people across the nation.