3 Alarm Fire Displaces Eight, Burns Seven Homes

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Early this morning, the Chicago Fire Dept responded to an address on S. Princeton for what started as a 2nd Alarm fire, and quickly became a 3rd Alarm. That response brought "over 150 CFD personnel and over 45 pieces of equipment." per the Chicago Fire Dept's official Twitter account. 

Today’s 3-11 alarm fire brought over 150 CFD personnel and over 45 pieces of equipment. A total of Seven (7) homes were involved. Companies will be on the scene for an extended time conducting overhaul 2-1-30 pic.twitter.com/A2sjIeOLut

— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) September 30, 2021

Chicago-One News spoke to Chicago Fire Dept Spokesman, Larry Langford, who gave the below statement in its entirety. Quote marks have been omitted. 

The first 911 call came in at 3:30AM reporting rear porches on fire. Arriving fire companies saw the fire was spreading to other porches and quickly called for the next level alarm, which was a “still and box” but the buildings are so close together and the fire so intense that other buildings were threatened, and some become involved. 

A 2-11, then a 3-11 alarm was called for more equipment and firefighters to handle the additional fires and make sure all searches could be done as quickly as possible.

CFD Photo

One building contained several dogs including a service animal for a
man with low vision. Several dogs were rescued but at least one did
not survive the fire. One puppy was taken for emergency treatment
by a Vet according to chiefs on the scene. 

CFD Photo

The fire is being investigated as suspicious due to evidence found on the scene and the location of the fires with respect to each other.

This fire is a prime example of how fast fire can spread. In this case we
found no working smoke alarms but fortunately the service dog of one resident started barking loudly and served to wake its owner and others
in one of the buildings. 

Eight people were displaced in the fires, but no civilians were injured. 

From what we know at this point the fire began in a vacant structure and spread quickly from there. Fires breaking out in vacant buildings during the night in cool or cold weather has always been a problem as some people illegally occupy some vacant buildings, and start small fires to generate heat with those fires often getting out of control. 

CFD cannot stress enough the need for smoke alarms as required by
Chicago ordinance. We were fortunate in this case as the winds were
relatively calm preventing the fire from threatening even more homes.

This fire should also remind residents to try to keep fire hydrants clear
and make sure automobiles are not parked in violation of the yellow
areas 15 feet either side of a hydrant.

Fire hydrants with delays in getting to a hydrant with a water line can give a fire more time to spread and fires can double in size every minute. Time is precious in fighting any house fire especially in areas where homes are built very close together such in the 4900 block of Princeton.

- End of CFD Statement -

On April 23rd, 2021, the Better Government Association and the Chicago Tribune published an award-nominated series called, "The Failures Before The Fires".  The series looked at lax oversight by Chicago officials prior to fatal building fires. "At least 61 people — including 23 under the age of 17 — who died since 2014 in Chicago buildings where city officials knew of fire safety problems, sometimes for years, yet failed to crack down on property owners in time, an investigation by the Better Government Association and the Chicago Tribune has found." - Quote from the first part of the series

That series disclosed this fact: "The 61 people who died in these fires represent about a third of the 170 deaths in all the fires combined. The majority were Black."

The victims of this morning's fire who were displaced are also Black. The difference this morning from the other fires spoken of in the BGA/Tribune collaboration, is that today's fire victims got away alive. 

Chicago-One News has asked the Illinois State Fire Marshal for comment in this matter, and this news article will be updated when or if the State provides a response.  

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