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Officials: Nursing Home Fire Was Deliberately Set

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Updated 03/18/11 – 1:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Officials believe a fire in a West Side nursing home Friday morning was deliberately set.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the fire broke out at the Columbus Manor Residential Care Home, at 5107 W. Jackson Blvd. in the South Austin neighborhood. A woman in her 60s suffered smoke inhalation in the fire, according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bernie Tafoya reports


Officials say fires were started in the closets of three separate units at the nursing home. Langford says it’s unclear what was used to start the fires.

“The closets were full of ordinary combustibles – paper, clothing, the type of thing that you would see in closets – but we don’t have any word on anything else they used at this point,” Langford said. “The investigation is still underway.”

Police believe a resident of the home may have set the blazes, but are still investigating. Fire investigators are also working to determine the cause.

An Emergency Medical Services Plan 1 — which automatically sends five ambulances to the scene — was called because the blaze was at a nursing home, Langford said.

The facility’s sprinkler system kept the flames in check until fire crews arrived on scene, according to Langford. Once they arrived, firefighters fed additional water to the sprinklers and extinguished the flames.

The fire began around 4 a.m. and was put out about 4:30 a.m.

No evacuation was required. Residents were moved to a safe part of the building while the fire was extinguished, and fans were used to remove the smoke.

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)