KENWOOD – A major fire Wednesday at the Harper Square Cooperative apartments in Kenwood killed one person and injured at least eight others, including a firefighter, officials said.
At about 10 a.m. Wednesday, first responders were called to a fire in the high-rise building at Harper Square, 4850 S. Lake Park Ave. Units over nine floors caught fire, Ald. Sophia King (4th) said.
The fire started on the 15th floor, but the day’s strong winds pushed it up to the 24th floor, Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said at a news conference. The building’s elevators broke down and firefighters had to use ladders to fight the flames and move their equipment.
One person was found dead in the 15th-floor unit where the fire started, King said. Seven people were hospitalized in fair to good condition and one firefighter was slightly injured, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
Thirty-three residents have refused medical treatment at a hospital, Nance-Holt said.
The fire was put out at about 12.30pm
Some residents have been told to shelter in their flats during the fire, but this is standard as it can help keep them from running into danger, officials said.
“The fact that the wind was pushing; the fire climbed vertically and leapt from floor to floor until the 24th, where firefighters took control of it. They did an outstanding job…,” said Nance-Holt.
Officials don’t yet know how the fire started, King said. “Many elderly people” are among the residents displaced by the fire, and the owners of the CSO Multiplex, 1301 E. 47th St., have stepped forward to offer “anyone who is displaced” a place to warm up and eat, she said.
“I have a godmother who lives in the building, so I wanted to make sure she was okay, as were the other residents in this building,” said Prentice Butler, King’s chief of staff and candidate to replace her as 4th Ward alderman. “… There are a lot of aging people here who call it home.”
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