Deadly Kenwood high-rise fire started in apartment bedroom, caused by ‘careless use of smoking materials’

The fatal extra-alarm fire in a Kenwood high-rise started in an apartment bedroom and was caused by “careless use of smoking materials,” officials said Thursday.

The fire started in a 15th floor apartment of the complex in the 4800 block of South Lake Park Avenue Wednesday morning. “Careless use of smoking materials ignited combustibles in a bedroom,” fire officials said Thursday, ruling the cause accidental.

The apartment’s smoke alarm was not working at the time, the Chicago Fire Department said in a statement.

The fire quickly spread along the outside wall of the highrise building, eventually reaching up nine floors. One person was killed and eight other residents were injured, officials said. The person who died has not yet been identified, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The building has failed seven inspections since Oct. 27, 2021, according to city records.

On Nov. 7 last year, it was cited for having cracked masonry on exterior walls, not having fire tags on certain doors and for failing to have a required examination report of the building, according to records from the city Department of Buildings.

The last inspection, on Dec. 1, 2022, cited management for failing to provide an annual fire alarm test for the building, according to the records.

Chicago Fire Department firefighters work to extinguish a fire that broke out in an apartment on the 15th floor and climbed nine floors in a high-rise building Wednesday in the 4800 block of South Lake Park Avenue in Kenwood on the South Side.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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