DES PLAINES, Ill. — One person was killed and dozens are left homeless after fire spread through a condo building in unincorporated Des Plaines Sunday morning.
Resident Adrian Skorka says the fire started in his apartment on the sixth floor of the building, and he was burned while trying to deal with the fire.
"It started in my unit, in my room. I was on the edge of my bed. I woke up to the fire on my feet," Skorka said. "I tried to get a fire extinguisher. Tried to put the fire out. Came back it was three times as worse."
Fire eventually took over the whole floor.
"Smoke started coming through our vents. We were still in bed. Grabbed the babies and got out of the building," resident Ruslan Nairner said.
Firefighters were called to the building just before 8 a.m. Sunday. The North Main Fire Protection District and several other departments threw up their ladders to attack from the outside.
"The crews arrived on scene with heavy fire. A lot of heat, they had to back out," North Main Fire Protection District Chief Robert McKay said.
Firefighters used a ladder to rescue a person trapped on their balcony, as well as several others needing help to get to safety.
"We have a couple people in the building that are in wheelchairs and can't get out," Nairner said.
As firefighters were searching the 38-unit building, part of the roof collapsed, prompting an order for all to evacuate.
Organizations like the Red Cross are now helping those displaced families, many of whom lost everything in the fire, smoke and large amounts of water used to fight the fire.
"I would say a majority of the people won't be able to go in there," Chief McKay said.
According to the Red Cross, the fire impacted approximately 35 units and several families, including 55 adults and 13 children.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to assist victims of the fire.