Fire in suburban apartment complex leaves 1 dead

BENSENVILLE, Ill. -- One person is dead and at least 20 others are searching for a place to live after fire destroyed their Bensenville apartment complex Sunday morning.

Officials believe the fire broke out shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday, and hours later firefighters were still trying to extinguish the flames as they consumed the building that contained 18 apartments. All but one person got out alive.

Resident Raul Garcia, who lived on the second floor of the building, said he rushed out with his wife after hearing the fire alarm and seeing a lot of smoke. Garcia and his wife are among 20 people who will be looking for a place to stay, as the extent of the damage on the inside remains unclear, he said.

"I don't know yet because I'm on the second floor... there is a lot of water so we hope everything is okay," Garcia said.

The fire apparently started in a third floor apartment and spread quickly, despite firefighters arriving within three minutes of receiving a call, according to the Bensenville Fire Chief Mike Spain.

"They found a fully-involved complex the police had gotten here before, they were already starting to evacuate patients or people," Spain said.

The chief says the fire did so much damage the building is uninhabitable, and local officials, the Red Cross and the building owner were looking for places residents could stay.

Officially, the fire is still under investigation, however some people on the ground said it may have been caused by a man smoking in an apartment with an oxygen tank.