At least 13 hospitalized after Bolingbrook fire

March 14, 2010 2:34:51 PM PDT
At least 13 people, including a police officer, were injured in an apartment complex fire Sunday morning in southwest suburban Bolingbrook

It happened in the 500-block of Preston Drive. The fire started around 6 a.m. in the kitchen of a second-floor apartment of one of the buildings. Firefighters say food left on a stove may have caused the fire.

Neighbors said they didn't realize what was going on until firefighters started knocking on doors in the search for people to evacuate from the building. Residents told ABC7 there were up to 90 apartments per building inside the large Bolingbrook apartment complex.

Residents from 70 apartments in the building were in temporary shelter Sunday while smoke cleared from the building.

"Smoke, like it was a lot of smoke. So, all we did was just try to get out of the buiilding, thats all," said resident Janet Sarpong.

"We at least had time to get our coats and get dressed and everything. I saw people walking around in their pajamas with no shoes on," said Daniel Reinholdt, also a building resident. The fire was contained to the unit where it started. All the smoke involved made it difficult for people to get out.

"The origin was in the kitchen. We had quite a few people that we had to bring out of the building. Initially, a lot of heavy smoke. The fire was confined to the apartment. So, in the beginning it was fairly chaotic until we got a lot of our resources on scene, but we ended up transporting eight people to Venice Bolingbrook Hospital, all with smoke inhalation, most of it minor-- there were no burn injuries whatsoever," said Chief David Litton, Bolingbrook Fire Department.

Litton said the biggest challenge was in evacuating the people from the building. In some cases, they had to throw up ladders because there was so much smoke in the hallways.

The fire was out by 8 a.m. All of the injured victims were treated for smoke inhalation. Their injuries did not appear life-threatening.