Mystery Good Samaritan puts up 70 homeless people in Chicago hotel as temperatures plunge to -30C

'We’re thrilled they’re safe and warm, at least for a few days,' says charity

Chris Baynes
Friday 01 February 2019 15:22
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A Good Samaritan paid for 70 homeless people to stay in hotel rooms in Chicago as temperatures plunged to near-record lows of -30C.

The mystery donor stepped in after dozens of rough sleepers were forced to abandon a makeshift encampment in the frozen Illinois city.

Authorities closed off the “tent city” after one of the gas tanks that had been heating the area, numbering between 150 and 200 in total, exploded on Wednesday.

Many of the propane bottles had been donated by members of the public to help the homeless people keep warm as an Arctic blast keeps the US Midwest in a deadly deep freeze.

No one was hurt in the blast, but fire chiefs warned the use of the gas tanks was “extremely unsafe”.

The homeless people who had been sleeping in the camp were set to be sheltered by the Salvation Army, until the charity learned the Good Samaritan had offered to put them up in a hotel in Chicago’s south side.

"We think it’s wonderful that there’s somebody out there that has decided to be so kind to provide a warm place and a safe place for these folks to go," the charity's spokeswoman Jacqueline Rachev told the Washington Post. "We’re thrilled they’re safe and warm, at least for a few days."

The identity of the donor is not known, but they are thought likely to have picked up a bill of thousands of dollars.

Their act of generosity came amid heavy snow and plummeting temperatures in Chicago, which recorded its second-coldest day in history this week.

At least 21 people, nine of them in Chicago, have died as Arctic conditions paralyse the Midwest. Doctors in Chicago said they had seen dozens of frostbite victims, some of whom were likely to require amputation.

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