Rogers Park Fire Leaves Man Dead
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UPDATED 01/04/12 1:04 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A man died in a fire in his Rogers Park neighborhood apartment early Wednesday, just one day moved in, according to fire officials.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. at North Shore Apartments, a high-density seven-story building at 6633 N. Sheridan Rd. – at the intersection with North Shore Avenue.
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The fire broke out in a sixth-floor studio apartment in the back of the building, where one man was found dead. The Fire Department says a smoke detector was found, but it was not clear whether it worked, the Sun-Times Media Wire reported.
“I was asleep, and I heard some noise from the balcony, like breaking glass and stuff,” said Fatou Kebe, a resident of the building who was with her neighbors on a CTA warming bus early Wednesday.
Kebe and her mother woke up around 3 a.m. and looked out the window. They saw the fire two doors down.
“She started going around in a circle knocking on everybody’s door – ‘Fire! Fire! Wake up!” she said.
Smoke filled the hallway as Kebe and her family, including her 9-month-old nephew, tried to get out.
Firefighters knocked down the flames before they spread from the one unit.
“The fire was contained to that unit. We evacuated the 6th and 7th floor for precautionary reasons into a warming bus,” said 2nd District Fire Deputy Chief John Shehan.
But when crews went inside the unit that burned, they found the still-unidentified man in his 50s dead near the front door.
“He appeared to be a new tenant in the building, possibly moving into the building earlier in the day,” Shehan said.
But other fire source said the man had moved in about a month ago.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says the man was so severely burned that dental records will be needed to make a positive identification.
Kebe and several others spent the rest of the morning inside the warming bus, while fire officials cleared the smoke and investigated. All the uninjured residents were back home in their units within the morning hours.
“Thank God we’re alive,” Kebe said.
Sheridan Road was closed for an hour and a half after the fire, but had reopened by 5 a.m.
Fire officials were inside the building investigating the cause of the fire later Wednesday morning.
A 59-year-old woman was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston for smoke inhalation. She was reported in good condition later in the morning.
As of 11 a.m., fire investigators had not determined what started the fire.