Family Escapes Injury in Suburban Fire

Hanover Park duplex was destroyed by spreading car fire

Their home was destroyed, but a suburban family escaped uninjured following an fire and explosion early Friday.

The northwest suburban duplex collapsed when all was said and done, but it started with a car fire in a family’s Hanover Park driveway, then spread to their home, fire officials said.
Crews responded to a reported explosion at about 3 a.m., according to a Hanover Park Fire lieutenant.

The “explosion” neighbors reported was likely the popping of tires and airbags and other “things that pop in a car," Hanover Park Fire Chief Craig Haigh said.

Initial reports stated that people were trapped in the home, but when firefighters entered they found only the family's  two cats.

“We launched an aggressive search into the house under heavy fire conditions,” Haigh said. “As we were trying to extinguish [the fire] there was a catastrophic failure of a bedroom floor directly over the garage.”

Realizing the home’s occupants were safe and with neighbors, fire crews worked from outside the home to extinguish the blaze after the entire floor system on one side of the home collapsed, Haigh said.

One firefighter injured his knee after he was struck with debris and was being treated at a local hospital, but his injuries were not serious.

“There was massive damage to the house,” Haigh said, adding that one side of the home was completely destroyed, while the other side of the duplex was in “great shape."

A family of four lived in the home, and a chaplain from the Hanover Park Fire Department was working to find them a place to stay.

One of the cats firefighters rescued was severely burned and had to be euthanized shortly after the fire was extinguished. The other cat was reportedly doing well.

Haigh said the fire was likely from an electrical malfunction.

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