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Richton Park Community Surprises Fire Victim With Sweet 16 Birthday Party

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Just days before Tamia Jackson's 16th birthday, the Richton Park teenager and her mother were displaced by a fire at their apartment complex.

Two days after the fire, on Sunday, community members transformed Jackson's high school for her big day. Among the decorations at Richton Park High School were blue tablecloths, flowers and even a crown for the birthday girl.

"I wasn’t expecting it, Jackson said. "I didn’t care if I had a party… maybe next week or not at all… but I’m very glad they threw a party."

The teenager and her mother, Tammarra Jackson, lost nearly everything when their apartment burned in Friday's four-alarm fire, which also displaced 30 other families.

"I want to say thank you so much… cause it means so much to me right now….. thank you so much," Tammarra Jackson said.

One moment was extra special for Tamia Jackson - opening a gift she never thought she'd get - an iPad.

The surprise celebration was made possible by donations from the school district, teachers and community members.

"This is something they wouldn’t be able to do, and it was just a no brainer for us to be able to provide something for them," said superintendent Dr. Johnnie Thomas of Rich Township High School District 227.

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