Community rallies to rebuild Edison Park community theater after fire

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CHICAGO, Ill. -- Chicago residents are rallying together to rebuild a community theater after it was destroyed in a fire Sunday morning.

The WIP Training Center, located in Edison Park, offers acting and improv classes for children. It plans to send 29 kids to perform in Disney World next year. They are in the process of raising $20,000 for the trip, but now they must raise money to rebuild their theater as well.

The building caught fire Sunday morning and is now completely destroyed. Theater owner Tony Valle described the devastation.

"The windows were black. You couldn't see in," he said. "The front half is scorched and needs to be rebuilt. The showroom section is flooded. They tore out the ceiling. There's a lot of smoke damage. We're going to need a complete rebuild."

Valle went on, "the support from the community has been overwhelming."

WIP Theater's Sunday night fundraiser for the Disney trip had to be cancelled. A GoFund Me page was started to rebuild the theater, and nearby businesses have offered to host the children's improv classes until the theater can be rebuilt.

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