"Human Action" Responsible For High Rise Fire

By BJ Lutz and Nesita Kwan
|  Thursday, Jan 9, 2014  |  Updated 10:11 PM CDT
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"Human Action" Responsible For High Rise Fire

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A fire that injured eight people and displaced 35 in a high-rise in the North Side Edgewater neighborhood Wednesday morning was started as a result of “human action,” a fire department spokesman said.

Fire crews responded to the fire at a building in the 5800 block of North Sheridan Road amid reports of people trapped inside.

Eight people, including one firefighter, were hospitalized after the blaze with non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire department investigators determined that the fire was “incendiary,” which means that it was the result of a person’s actions, according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

However, just because a fire has been deemed incendiary doesn’t necessarily mean it was started intentionally, Langford said. He said the investigation has been handed over to police to determine whether it was accidental or arson.

Eyewitnesses described people hanging out of windows of the building screaming for help. At the height of the response, roughly 150 emergency professionals descended upon the building, which has 60 units, according to online records.

Residents in the building said the structure does not have a sprinkler system and said they had to hastily get dressed and wade through intense smoke on their way out.

Thirty-five people were displaced, according to police.

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