Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Village set up a donation bin in the Village Hall lobby so the community can help fellow Park Forest residents displaced by fire.
The blaze struck in the 0-100 block of Indianwood Blvd. a week ago Friday. The building on fire is one of the Glen Arbor of Park Forest Condominiums. The units, identical to the cooperatives and apartments nearby, are owned by individual residents. Police responded around 9 PM that night. When first responders arrived, they evacuated the building as the fire spread throughout the complex. The fire took out an entire building of townhomes, apparently beginning in an end unit and moving from one unit to the next.
Extensive Use of Power Strips, Extension Cords Set the Spark
Village officials said Park Forest Fire Department Deputy Chief Mark Cotrano was on the fire scene. He said emergency crews worked hard to extinguish the fire in the early morning. Firefighters battled and extinguished the blaze. Then the state fire marshal assisted with investigating the cause of the fire. Officials determined that the initial spark came from the extensive use of power strips and extension cords.
“At the end of the day, we do not like coming to your house to fight a fire,” Cotrano said. “We would rather prevent it. We often see extension cord (electrical) use as a cause of fires and would like to bring to attention the potential disaster it can cause.”
Cotrano added, “Also, we would like to remind the public to check their smoke detectors as they are often your first line of defense in alerting you to a fire.”
None of the residents the fire displaced were injured. Nevertheless, 19 residents are without homes. The American Red Cross is assisting those families. But they need more.
A Neighbor Recounts the Night
Nearby neighbor, Stacy M. from the first block of Hemlock, told eNews Park Forest her son heard first responders knocking on doors of the building on fire. She saw the flames.
“It was just blazing,” she said. “It took them forever to put that out.” She said it appeared most of the fire was out by 1 AM.
She said the flames began on one end of the complex, “Then it started to travel,” she said. “It puts things in perspective.” She said at one point, she thought the fire was out and saw a fireball erupt from the structure.
“They cut off my electricity,” she said, referring to ComEd. She shares an address number with one of the units involved in the fire, and ComEd turned off electricity to her building as well as the building where the fire happened. Her home regained power around 4 AM Saturday.
Firefighters Swap Oxygen Tanks
Stacy saw the arduous work of first responders that night. She saw firefighters entering the units while others emerged to change the oxygen tanks of their SCBA equipment. By her count, firefighters changed tanks five times each as they entered and left the units on fire.
Stacy M. said that the Red Cross responded. Displaced residents received vouchers for a three-day stay in a hotel. The Red Cross also gave them a card with a limited amount of dollars to help them in the fire’s immediate aftermath.
None of the units in the stretch of townhomes have electricity. ComEd pulled all meters. There is no return to these condominiums. It appears the fire permanently displaced the residents. What fire didn’t destroy or consume, the smoke ruined.
How You Can Help Residents Displaced by Fire
Now these 19 people need our help.
The Village set up a donation bin in the Village Hall lobby so the community can help fellow Park Foresters.
Below is a list of necessities needed:
- Nonperishable foods
Some of this text is from an official statement the Village of Park Forest posted Friday.