1 killed, 1 hurt in Rogers Park apartment fire

January 4, 2012 12:50:24 PM PST
Authorities say a new tenant died and another was injured Wednesday after a fire broke out inside a building in the 6600-block of North Sheridan.

The fire somehow started just after 2:40 a.m. inside the 140-unit, seven-story building. Officials say they were able to get a line up to a sixth-floor apartment in the back of the building. When they searched that unit, firefighters made a sad discovery. They found the body of a man by the front door.

Authorities say he was the unit's new tenant who moved in yesterday. Authorities were working on identifying him.

Fire officials say they were able to extinguish the fire within 10 minutes.

"The fire was contained to that unit. We evacuated the sixth and seventh floors for precautionary reasons into a warming bus. Everything went smooth," said Chicago Fire Department Chief John Shehan.

Lana Quarantl was one of many tenants evacuated by the Chicago Fire Department from the Northshore Apartments in the middle of the night.

"When I looked through the window I saw the police and the fire department, and all I heard was that the fire is in the building, you have to leave the building right away," said Quarantl. "Very sudden, unexpected. It's like, you know, sometimes you see it on the news, but you believe that it will never happen to you."

"It's terribly unfortunate especially this time of the year, but it's been a good building and it hasn't had any problems --not that I know of -- and I'm fairly active in the community, and you just hate to see anything like this happen," said resident Ed Gilliland.

Fire officials said they were not able to locate a working smoke detector in the man's unit. However, they say smoke detectors were working in the building's hallways.

Other tenants say their smoke detectors do work, and building management checks them often.

"We have working smoke detectors in all the apartments. Even when it's time to change the batteries, they make sure everybody changes the batteries," said resident Mustapha Ibrahim.

"We have smoke detectors in our apartment. If something goes wrong, the alarm goes on," said Kaleem Jaffri, who also lives in the building.

Building management offered no comment on the fire.

A woman was transported to St. Francis Hospital with smoke inhalation and is expected to be ok.

Authorities were unsure of the cause of the fire officials or where exactly it started. ABC7 is told the investigation continues.

Firefighters returned to the building later Wednesday to pass out more smoke detectors.