Blue Island Fire Displaces Dozens

Fire may have been sparked by food left cooking in a second-floor unit

By Michelle Relerford and BJ Lutz
|  Friday, Nov 18, 2011  |  Updated 2:35 PM CDT
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Firefighters were called to the two-story, 36-unit apartment complex on the 12100 block of Vincennes Road early Friday morning.

Firefighters were called to the two-story, 36-unit apartment complex on the 12100 block of Vincennes Road early Friday morning.

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More than 25 people were displaced Friday morning after a fire, fueld by high winds, tore through their south suburban apartment building.

Fire investigators said it may have been sparked by food left cooking on a stove in a unit on the second floor of the building, located on the 12100 block of Vincennes Road in Blue Island.

"I was laying in bed and I heard a young lady scream, "Fire!" so I didn't think nothing of it. I came out outside flames were everywhere," said resident Christopher Halliburton.

He was able to get his wife and two young children out, but they lost just about everything.

"They're OK, but they don't have no shoes, no clothes, no nothing," he said.

By the time firefighters arrived just after 4 a.m., most of the residents of the two-story, 36-unit apartment building were already outside, said Blue Island Fire Chief Bob Kopp. Others were awakened and escorted out by first responders.

The fire burned most of the second floor and went into the attic and took the roof off. All of the units on the second floor were damaged, along with some on the first floor.

Kopp said the building had just gone under new ownership about a week ago and the new owner was in the proccess of rehabbing several buildings on Vincennes. Four of the building's units were not occupied.

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago spokesman Gerry Holmes said 14 apartments and 25 to 30 people were affected by the fire.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire in about 90 minutes, said Kopp.

One person was injured, but was treated and released, he said.

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