‘Nobody had been able to reach her.’ Frantic search as one killed, several hurt in extra-alarm fire in Kenwood high-rise

One person died and several other people were injured when a wind-whipped fire climbed nine floors of a high-rise apartment building near Lake Shore Drive in the Kenwood neighborhood Wednesday morning, according to fire officials.

The fire broke out just after 10 a.m. on the 15th floor and quickly spread upward along the outside walls and windows to at least eight other floors of the building in the 4800 block of South Lake Park Avenue.

The fire was raised to a 4-11 alarm as more than 300 firefighters and emergency responders were dispatched to the scene, according to Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt. By noon, flames were no longer visible.

A person was found dead in an apartment, fire officials said. Eight other people were injured, including a 70-year-old woman initially listed in critical condition, according to fire officials.

A firefighter was hospitalized in good to serious condition with a minor orthopedic injury, Nance-Holt told reporters.

The wind fanned the flames and quickly spread the fire to the upper floors, according to Deputy Fire Commissioner Marc Ferman. “It was a fast-moving fire,” he said. “And it was tough just staying ahead of it.”

Ald. Sophia King (4th) said many of the building’s residents are older people.

“I will tell you when I first walked up, I was aghast and my heart sunk,” she said. “But after talking to leadership, first responders, they have the situation under control.”

Barbara Joiner, a 69-year-old resident, stood outside the building with other neighbors as snow continued to fall. Joiner said she acts as a caretaker for another woman who lives in the portion of the building affected by the fire and was anxiously trying to reach her.

“Oh my God,” she said, remembering her reaction to seeing the flames once she got outside. “These flames are still rising.”

The building, at 4850 S. Lake Park Ave., has failed seven inspections since Oct. 27, 2021, according to city records.

The last inspection, on Dec. 1, 2022, cited management for failing to provide an annual fire alarm test for the building, according to records from the city’s Department of Buildings.

Contributing: Ashlee Rezin; Elvia Malagon; Associated Press

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *