Fire Displaces 24 Families from Chicago Apartment

An overnight fire near west suburban Glen Ellyn destroyed part of an apartment building and displaced 24 families, reports The Chicago Tribune.

According to Lt. Craig Eldridge, the Public Information Officer for the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company, the department was called about 1:53 a.m. and when a fire department chief arrived on the scene shortly afterward, he saw smoke and fire showing through a roof and instituted a special alarm that brought more units to the scene.

The fire was in building 580 at the Willow Lakes apartment complex in an unincorporated area just south of North Avenue that is northeast of downtown Glen Ellyn and northwest of downtown Lombard. The building had 24 units, 12 on each side of a firewall. The fire was on the north side of the firewall, Eldridge said, and all 12 units on that side were destroyed. Some of the units on the other side had water damage but were not severely damaged, he said.

No residents or firefighters were injured in the fire, Eldridge said, but 24 families were displaced -- 12 on the side that was destroyed and 12 on the other side who could not remain in the building because utilities were cut off and there was no heat, water, or electricity. The Red Cross was on the scene to help those families, Eldridge said.

He said fire alarms in the building did work, helping residents safely exit the burning building, and said that the firewall did its job, protecting one side of the building from the side that was actively burning.

About 14 west suburban fire departments were involved, Eldridge said, with about 50-60 individuals on scene and about 15-16 trucks. He said that it took about 30 minutes for the firefighters to get the blaze under control and several more hours after that to eliminate hot spots and clean up the scene.

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