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No one injured in Oak Park apartment fire

Oak Park deputy fire chief: 22-unit apartment building 'a complete loss'

October 21st, 2015 1:34 AM

The Oak Park Fire Department responds to a fire on Washington and Cuyler on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2015. The fire started around 9:30 p.m. and continued into early Wednesday morning.| WILLIAM CAMARGO/Staff Photographer

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Black smoke and heavy flames from a 22-unit apartment building fire near Percy Julian Middle School raged into early Wednesday morning, Oct. 21, but no injuries were reported.

The Oak Park Fire Department was called out to the four-alarm fire in the 200 block of Washington Boulevard at about 9:30 p.m., Oct. 20, and faced heavy flames from the rear of the building, Deputy Fire Chief Peter Pilafas said.

"When they did arrive it was flames from the ground to the roof," Pilafas said.

Pilafas said that at about midnight the fire was contained to the building of origin and that no residents were reported injured or missing. The Red Cross was on the scene aiding displaced residents. Pilafas said the building, just east of the corner of Washington and Cuyler, was "a complete loss."

One firefighter sustained minor injuries and was transported to Loyola Medical Center for treatment.

Fire departments from eleven surrounding communities aided in fighting the fire, Pilafas said.

It is uncertain what started the blaze and is under investigation, Pilafas said.

One residential building to the east of the apartment building suffered some damage due to radiant heat from the blaze, Pilafas said, but no other buildings appear to have been affected.

Residents and neighbors watched around midnight as large flame continued to shoot up from the roof of the building.

Joel Heaton, who lives in a building across the street, said he first saw the fire at about 9:45 p.m.

"Embers were travelling across the street like they could catch the other buildings on fire," he said.

He said the alley of the building was "black with smoke."

Greg White, who lives a few blocks from the building, said he came home from watching the Cubs game at about 10:30 p.m. and saw the fire.

"This is the worst apartment building fire I've seen in Oak Park, and I've lived here 40 years," he said.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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