Archive for category Fatal fire

Fatal fire in Calumet City, 5-30-22

Excerpts from

A woman was killed and seven others, including three firefighters, were injured after a fire in a Calumet City apartment building in the 200-block of Park Avenue Monday night..

Firefighters arrived on the scene and reported heavy fire on the second floor in a unit in the rear of the building, with flames extending to the seventh floor and the roof.

Four building residents and three firefighters were transported to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

 The building suffered heavy fire and smoke damage and it was not immediately clear how many people were displaced. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Fatal fire in Chicago, 5-25-22

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A young girl died after a fire broke out in an apartment building Wednesday morning in Roseland on the Far South Side. The child was found under debris in the bedroom of a second-floor unit of a courtyard building at 11035 S. King Dr. She was 2 or 3 years old. Firefighters tried to resuscitate the child but she was pronounced dead at Comer Children’s Hospital.

Firefighters had responded to several calls of a heavy fire coming from an apartment and a person possibly trapped inside. 

Two adults from the unit had escaped when firefighters arrived. The rear door of the unit appeared to be locked and someone may have jumped to safety from a window. There were no working smoke detectors inside.

The apartment was full of a lot of debris — furniture, objects that made it difficult to conduct the search.

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Fatal fire in Chicago, 4-3-22

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A 3-year-old girl who in an apartment fire Saturday morning in Bronzeville on the South Side, has been identified as Story I. Chamba. She died of burns and smoke inhalation after being pulled from the flames.

The cause of the fire has been ruled to be incendiary, possibly caused by cooking on the stove.

The 3-year-old and her 13-year-old brother were home alone when the fire broke out early Saturday morning in the 600-block of East 43rd Street.

Officials said the children’s mother had been at work and was returning home as the fire department arrived, and found flames shooting out of the second-floor apartment.

A third-floor resident woke up to the sound of fire alarms and the smell of smoke.

Firefighters beat back the flames and were able to force their way into the building in an effort to rescue anyone still inside. The little girl was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition but later died from her injuries. Her brother was not hurt.

Because someone died in the fire, firefighters returned to the neighborhood later in the afternoon to pass out smoke detectors and fire safety information.

No one else was hurt in the fire, probably because there were working smoke detectors inside the building at the time, officials said.

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Fatal fire in Round Lake, 4-23-22

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The Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District was dispatched to the 100 block of West Providence Lane in Round Lake for a report of a structure fire at 9:48 a.m. on Saturday morning after a neighbor saw dark colored smoke coming from the roof.

Firefighters entered the structure, a two-story duplex residence, and found a female occupant on the second floor. She was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center, where she later died. Two dogs were rescued from the residence and one survived. 

The fire appeared to originate on the first floor in the kitchen area. The Greater Round Lake Fire Prevention Bureau, in conjunction with the Round Lake Police Department and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, is investigating the cause of the fire.

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Fatal fire in Chicago, 4-12-22

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Chicago firefighters responded around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday when smoke alarms went off in the hallway outside a third-floor studio apartment at 2322 N. Commonwealth Ave. They found a woman, in her mid-50s, in cardiac arrest and began CPR. Paramedics brought her to Saint Joseph Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The fire was contained to the studio apartment and there was no word of other displacements. There was a lot of smoke but little fire, and the blaze was extinguished quickly.

A preliminary investigation found that the cause of the fire was unattended cooking.

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Double fatal fire in Chicago, 3-31-22

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Just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening, Chicago firefighters responded to a house fire on South Homewood Avenue, just north of 115th Street in Morgan Park. Crews encountered several challenges that made the fire more difficult to control.

“There were barricades on the back door, like a 2×4, I guess to keep people out. Also there was also a lot of debris inside of the building which made the fire a lot more hectic to fight,” Chicago Fire Department Deputy District Chief Anthony Frazier said.

Inside, two men were found dead on the main level. The victims have not yet been identified.  

The fire was brought under control within 45 minutes. There were no working smoke detectors inside the home.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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Fatal fire in Evanston, 3-10-22


Excerpts from the City of Evanston:

EVANSTON, IL – On Thursday, March 10, at approximately noon, Evanston firefighters responded to 1516 Brummel St. for reports of smoke coming from a residential structure.

Upon the arrival of first responding fire companies, heavy black smoke was coming from the basement of the single-family residence. First arriving crews encountered heavy fire conditions on the lower level of the structure. The response was quickly upgraded to a Box Alarm with fire conditions requiring three hose lines and neighboring fire departments to assist with extinguishing the blaze. 

The property owners discovered the fire after arriving home to find smoke coming from their residence. Prior to the arrival of firefighters, one of the property owners, an 87-year-old male, entered the structure to investigate the source of the smoke. When firefighters arrived, they quickly found and extricated the man from the bottom of the basement stairs. Life-saving measures were initiated with transport immediately provided to a local area hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

Family notifications were made, with condolence care services offered by Evanston Fire Department Chaplain Monte Dillard and the American Red Cross.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. 

Smoke detectors were operational at the time of the fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year, unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise. If smoke or CO detectors activate, residents need to immediately leave or stay out of the building and call 911 to investigate.

fatal fire in Evanston IL

Collin Ehrlich photo

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Fatal fire in Boone County, 3-7-22

multiple people presumed dead after house fire

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Fatal fire in Chicago, 2-8-22

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An 88-year-old woman and 70-year-old man were found dead in an apartment fire early Tuesday morning in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side after CPD and CFD responded just before 2:30 a.m. to the 3600-block of North Kedvale Avenue for a reported fire in a two-story building there. The two bodies were found on the first floor of the building after firefighters had extinguished the blaze.

Fire officials said a mother and son living in the building didn’t have any heat for many months and were using space heaters to stay warm, and didn’t have any working smoke detectors. They were longtime residents in the building and were well-known on the block.

CFD said the home was overfilled with possessions and was hard to get around in. Frozen fire hydrants also complicated matters while they tried to fight the fire. 

Investigators are still working to determine an exact cause for the blaze, but their initial investigation shows smoking materials might have started it.



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Fatal fire in Des Plaines, 1-27-21 (more)

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A blaze that killed a Des Plaines woman and her four children one year ago was caused by two electrical cords that had been improperly altered and connected. One cord was part of a space heater that had been the focus of the investigation from the start. The other was a heavy-duty extension cord plugged into a wall outlet. The space heater was inside the family’s second-floor apartment near a stairway. The extension cord was plugged into an outlet in the kitchen.

The fire occurred in the apartment building on the 700 block of West Oakton Street. The building originally was a single-family house but had been converted into apartments. Killed in the Jan. 27, 2021, blaze were Cithlaly Zamudio, 25, and daughters Renata Espinosa, 6, Genesis Espinosa, 5, Allison Espinosa, 3, and Grace Espinosa, 1.

The fire, which began about 10 a.m., trapped the victims inside because there was no safe exit other than the stairs. Two other occupants of the building got out safely with help from police and a passerby.

Forensic electrical engineers hired by an insurance company and an attorney for the family’s estate examined the building and debris inside in June as part of their investigations. They concluded the spliced cords caused the fire. As manufactured, the male end of the heater’s electrical cord and the female end of the extension cord didn’t match. The ends had been cut off so the wires inside the cords could be spliced.

The resulting electrical flash could be seen in surveillance video from a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago facility across the street from the family’s home.

Strings of Christmas lights inside the apartment were improperly wired to each other, too, but they likely weren’t to blame for the fire.

The building where the fire occurred remains unoccupied and boarded up.


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