At least one person died and two others were seriously injured in an extra-alarm fire this morning in the 6700 block of South Shore Drive.
It was an intense fire, but mainly the smoke caused all the problems.
Within minutes, the high-rise fire was elevated to a 3-11 alarm. Ten ambulances came to the scene.
When firefighters got there they found a woman, possibly in her 60’s, in the lobby in full cardiac arrest.
But some did not get down the stairs. They stood on their balconies to escape the thick smoke.
“Some of the residents in the building, we actually sheltered in place. In other words, there wasn’t a need to take them into the smoke-filled hallways,” Deputy Fire Chief Nick Nicholas told reporters. “There wasn’t a need to bring them down ladders. We had a pretty good handle on the situation.”
The fire was contained to a 7th floor apartment but the smoke was so intense that it spread to the 8th floor and above.
There is no PA system in the high-rise so residents may have been confused about what to do. Some decided to leave quickly.
Luckily the bitter cold was not a factor in fighting the fire. There were no water problems.
It took about an hour to knock down the fire. Now it’s just a matter of finding the cause and cleaning up the mess.