Posts Tagged eight firefighters injured at Chicago fire scene

Eight injured during 2-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 1-11-16 (more)

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The Chicago Police Department’s bomb and arson unit is investigating Monday’s apartment building fire in Rogers Park as arson after an accelerant was found in a  stairwell that collapsed with firefighters on it. A mayday was called when one of them didn’t respond right away.  He suffered a shoulder injury in the fall.  Six other firefighters also received minor injuries from the icy conditions.

No residents were hurt.  Alderman Joe Moore says reports about code violations in the building are exaggerated, with the serious ones being addressed before 2010. The owner is a long time owner of several buildings in the area.  No code violation caused the fire; it was a person who’s motive is unclear.

Half of the 32 apartments were affected by the fire early.  Seven can’t be lived in. That means there are seven families who lost everything. Most of them are refugees who had nothing when they came here and now have to start over a second time.

It should take 2-3 weeks for the official results to come back.

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Eight injured during 2-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 1-11-16 (more)

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As firefighters fought a fire early Monday morning at a Rogers Park apartment complex, public records show a battle with the building’s owners had been brewing behind the scenes for years. The building at 1700-08 W. Estes Ave. has been inspected nine times over the past 10 years by the city and was cited for 39 violations during those visits. That includes three times since 2012 where investigators couldn’t gain entry to the building in order to make sure smoke detectors worked properly.

Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago said one firefighter Monday injured his shoulder after a set of stairs collapsed while crews were making their way to the third floor of the building.

In January 2010, the building was cited for failure to maintain interior stairway system in safe condition and sound repair because pickets were missing from the front staircase handrails.

Six other firefighters were injured in mostly ice-related incidents, and later Streets and Sanitation workers thickly salted the intersection of Paulina and Estes.

The building is registered to Cameel Halim, the agent for CH Ventures, LLC and Wilmette Real Estate & Management, LLC. Court records show Halim and his various real estate corporations have been sued dozens of times in Cook County civil and chancery courts in the past 24 years, including by the city of Chicago for building and environmental violations.

In November 2011, the courts ruled in favor of Centerpoint Energy Services, Inc., which was seeking $1.7 million from natural gas supplied to Hamil’s rental properties. In the suit, the energy provider alleged Hamil moved funds from Wilmette Real Estate & Management’s account to he and his wife’s personal account in order to avoid paying the judgment. The energy provider argued many of Hamil’s rental property corporations were shell corporations.

Jenira Torres, who lives along the 7106-12 N. Paulina St. side of the L-shaped property, said she was awoken by her distressed cat rather than her smoke alarm. Throughout the ordeal, she said neither the alarm in her apartment nor in her hallway or stairwell sounded. When she looked out her window, a ladder was standing directly outside with a firefighter headed up to the third floor above her.

Almost as soon as she opened her door, Torres said a firefighter appeared who told her to grab her things because the building was being evacuated. Torres said she never noticed any fire extinguishers in the building.

According to Chicago municipal code, “Fire extinguishers shall not be required in multiple dwellings not exceeding three stories in height and having a floor area not exceeding 3,000 square feet.”

Other violations cited by the city included several instances of rotting decks, window frames and doors, peeling paint, non-secured porches, water-damaged balconies, stagnant sewage in the basement, live rats, and open plaster in the basement ceiling.

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Eight injured during 2-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 1-11-16

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Eight firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, after battling an extra-alarm blaze at an apartment building in the Rogers Park neighborhood Monday morning.

Firefighters were called to a four-story apartment building in the 1700 block of West Estes Avenue shortly before 6 a.m. Within a few minutes, the fire was upgraded to a 2-11 alarm, bringing about 200 firefighters and 70 pieces of equipment to the scene. Flames were shooting through the roof.

Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said when the first crews arrived, a stairway collapsed as crews were climbing up to the third floor, trapping one firefighter who was quickly rescued. That firefighter suffered a minor shoulder injury.

In all, eight firefighters were injured at the scene. Some were hurt in the stair collapse, and others were hurt falling on ice at the scene. All the injuries were minor.

Santiago said frozen hydrants at the scene hampered efforts to put out the fire. While most were opened after using steam to thaw the hydrants, at least one was still frozen more than an hour after the fire started.

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