Fire fund: Help for Linda Leptich, lone survivor

On thanksgiving night shortly after dinner, an accidental fire took the lives of two sweet, loving, kind hearted souls. Bob and Carol Szalacha, my grandparents, tragically lost their lives along with their rescued family dog and cat. 

The fire broke out around 9:15 pm and was quickly accelerated by a supplemental oxygen tank.  Bob and Carol were being cared for by their daughter Linda, who was also living in the home and caring for them.

Linda is a selfless soul, who has spent much of her adult life working and caring for the sick as home aid for Visiting Angels Living Assistant Services. When her parents health declined, she so generously and compassionately dedicated her life to their care, and had been living with them for several years.

The quick acceleration of the blaze left Linda trapped on the top floor, a smoke detector alerting her. She was unable to rescue her parents, as were the firefighters who were pushed back out of the house due to the severity of the blaze. She miraculously was able to escape through the cellar.

This tragedy has been a shock for the entire family. We are devastated by the loss of Bob and Carol, matriarch and patriarch of our beautiful blended family, proud and loving grandparents, parents, friends, community members. The home that was the center of every holiday gathering is gone and countless memories destroyed.

No one has suffered more than Linda, who after having an especially challenging year with the pandemic, lost her parents, family dog, her cat, all of her belongings, and is left without a home. The emotional recovery and trauma she has endured will be a long road to healing.

I was so blessed to speak to Grandma the night before her death. She told me if it wasn't for Linda taking such great care of them, she wouldn't know what she would do. 

I am hoping to make things easier for Linda by creating a fund to help her start over, acquire a new wardrobe, shoes, winter coats for the piercing chicago winters.  I hope this will help her feel supported as well. After a lifetime of caring for others, she deserves so much love and support.

*The family does not need assistance for arrangements and are just trying to help Linda at this time

2020 has been challenging for us all, especially financially. If you are able to give, thank you. If you are unable and would like to support the family another way, a memorial site has been set up and the family would love any supportive messages and well wishes. Regardless, thank you, we love you. Blessings to you and your family, hold them all a little closer tonight, and don't ever underestimate the power of love, compassion, and community. 

Memorial Site for Bob and Carol Szalacha 

News article about the deadly blaze


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  • Joe Byrnes  
    • $75 (Offline)
    • 28 d
  • Helen Sexton 
    • $75 (Offline)
    • 28 d
  • Elisa Risi 
    • $40 
    • 28 d
  • Judith Kobylski 
    • $50 
    • 29 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
See all

Fundraising team (3)

Kelly Vaughn 
Raised $2,328 from 30 donations
Astoria, NY
Linda Leptich 
Debbie Vaughn 
Team member
Raised $450 from 6 donations
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