OAK PARK — An Oak Park man was killed in a fire at his condo Sunday morning, while the families in all 10 of the building's other units were displaced this Easter Sunday.
The Oak Park Fire Department responded to reports of a fire or explosion on Wisconsin Ave. just after 9 a.m. Sunday morning, officials say. When they arrived, a fire was spreading through the condo building.
Paramedics attempted to revive a victim discovered in one of the second floor condos, but the man died shortly after being taken out of the building.
When the smoke had cleared, the toll was visible, as the building appeared "gutted" and flames damaged the building next door as well. Two people collapsed with grief upon hearing their loved one had died. Neighbor Kasey Klinger witnessed the emotionally difficult moment.
"It is hard to watch, and you don’t ever want to see anything like this happen to anybody." Klinger said. “I just walk by here every day, and it’s just heartbreaking. I just want to wish that family, send them prayers and love and know that people who don’t even know them are thinking about them today.”
Sunday of all days is more difficult, neighbors say, because Easter is supposed to be a morning many spend with family, celebrating the renewal of life.
"It’s painful to have this happen no matter what, and then to have it happen on Easter, it’s much worse,” neighbor Michelle Henderson said.
The victim has not yet been identified. There were no other injuries, as the building had working smoke detectors, officials said.
The American Red Cross is now working with displaced families to find temporary shelter, and the state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.