(UnitedVoice.com) – A high-rise apartment building was swept by a terrifying blaze on Wednesday, leaving one dead and others injured. Hundreds of firefighters were called in to battle the fire. Now, questions are being asked about the safety of the building.
With elevators out and long lead to standpipes crews could not outrun the vertical spread of this high rise fire 4850 Lakepark. pic.twitter.com/jGNM9SVcnL
— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) January 25, 2023
At 10:08 a.m. on January 25, a resident in a 25-story apartment block on Chicago’s South Side saw smoke outside their apartment and called 911. As firefighters rushed to the scene, the fire, driven by strong winds, steadily climbed through the building from floor to floor. Eventually, more than 300 firefighters were on the scene, and despite some challenges, they finally managed to contain the fire on the 24th floor — nine floors above where it had started.
Fire officials say one reason the fire managed to climb so high is that, in the early stages, firefighters prioritized evacuating residents over fighting the blaze. While some residents escaped on their own, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said that can actually increase the danger. He explained that in an apartment block fire, where the flames are spreading vertically instead of horizontally, many residents are safer just sheltering in place.
Unfortunately, this blaze spread too quickly for some. Firefighters discovered a body on the 15th floor, while eight more residents and one firefighter were hospitalized.
After the fire, the incident was investigated by the CFD, which revealed that the apartment complex had failed its last seven fire inspections. Inspectors found that the building’s management failed to test its fire alarms and evacuation system. The most recent inspection was on November 7 of last year. Department of Buildings officials say it failed multiple other safety requirements, including interior doors and exterior walls. Its housing units also lack sprinklers, despite the city’s strict safety rules for high-rise buildings.
It seems this building’s owners have been ignoring those rules for years — and now a resident is dead.
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