Fire leaves 75 looking for place to stay

February 19, 2008 2:59:41 PM PST
Firefighters had their hands full Tuesday battling a huge apartment fire on the city's South Side.

There were working smoke detectors in the building near 56th and Indiana. And that's what alerted a lot of residents to the fire. The first call for this fire came at approximately 1 p.m. And, in just a few minutes, much of this three-story, 24-unit apartment building was engulfed in flames. The two-alarm fire left 75 residents stunned and worried about where they will be staying.

The fire was so intense and spread so quickly that as the firemen were checking for residents, they were actually forced to retreat.

"We conducted our primary search and our secondary search. We were forced out because of the heavy fire conditions," said Commissioner Raymond Orozco, Chicago Fire Department.

After regaining control of the blaze, firefighters were able to re-enter the building. Though temperatures are barely out of the single digits and winds are gusting over 20 mph, the weather was not a major hindrance.

"The wind didn't cause us any problems. Once the fire gets up in that area, above the ceiling and below the roof, it tends to wrap around. So, the wind didn't cause any problems, nor did the weather cause us any problems," said Orozco.

According to the commissioner, they do not have any idea what actually started the fire. That's going to take some time. Also, even though some of the fire trucks are now loading up and chipping some of the ice off their trucks as well, a lot of the other fire engines are going to be on the scene for quite some time, probably well into the night.