The community is rallying around two victims of an apartment fire who had to be flown to a hospital in Rockford due to their injuries last week, and as a result two separate GoFundMe accounts are collecting donations.
The victims have been identified as Matt Zamudio and Alyssa Noonen, who lived in an apartment in the High Meadows complex in the 1400 block of West Lincoln Highway early Friday morning.
According to a family friend of Zamudio’s, Amanda Feece, Zamudio was born and raised in DeKalb and graduated from Northern Illinois University this past December with a degree in fashion merchandising and was also vice president of his student-group for his degree. He had two cats who were also rescued in the fire.
“I’ve been trying to come up with ways to express the type of person that he is because I need people to know how wonderful of a person he is inside and out,” Feece said. “I have been having a hard time not only because I am heartbroken by the events that have taken place but because that man is the most selfless person I have ever met in my entire life! How do I fit everything I want you to know about him it is impossible I could go on for days. That man will quite literally take the shirt off of his back and give it to you (I’ve watched him do it several times).”
Feece said he is no longer in critical condition, but remains hospitalized.
According to Noonen’s GoFundMe page, her injuries were life-threatening, and her recovery timeline is expected to be a “long haul with no clear end date in sight.”
The cause of the fire, which began around 4:20 a.m. Feb. 12, remains under investigation, though the flames and smoke gutted the apartment and it was deemed uninhabitable.