UPDATED 11/18/11 12:04 p.m.
BLUE ISLAND, Ill. (CBS) — One person was hospitalized, and firefighters rescued many others, in a raging blaze at an apartment building in south suburban Blue Island early Friday.
As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, the fire broke out around 4:20 a.m. in the apartment building at 12140 Vincennes Rd. Firefighters and paramedics from 17 different departments responded.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
The two-story, 20-unit building is part of the Blue Station apartment complex.
The fire began in the kitchen of one unit and quickly spread through the building.
“The first arriving crews found fire coming out of the roof area and several of the apartments on the second floor,” said Blue Island Deputy Fire Chief Mark Leuty.
Firefighters rescued several people. The rescues were all successful, but one man was injured and taken to Metro South Hospital in Blue Island.
Firefighters initially had to go into defensive mode, as flames began shooting from the south side of the building where another similar structure was exposed.
Javon Applewhite, 24, was among the residents forced into the cold by the fire.
“I smelled smoke, so my first instinct was to open the door,” Applewhite said. “When I opened the door, I could see smoke coming out of the vents on top of the roof.”
Blue Island Building Commissioner David Mindeman said the building was gutted, and water, smoke or fire ruined all 20 units.
“Everything is gone now,” Applewhite said. “I mean, I’m glad to be safe and glad to be alive, but I don’t know where for now.”
The American Red Cross also responded to the scene to provide aid, according to spokesman Gerry Holmes.
A temporary shelter for the 25 to 30 people displaced by the fire was set up near the Blue Island fire station.
Early Friday afternoon, the Illinois State Fire was investigating the cause of the blaze.