Dad, four kids treated after Palos Hills apartment fire
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com July 23, 2013 10:22AM
Monica Almaguer was able to flee when a fire started in the apartment below her place early Tuesday in Palos Hills. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 25, 2013 6:21AM
A father and his four children were treated Tuesday for smoke inhalation at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, and five other families temporarily were displaced after a fire in their Palos Hills apartment building, a fire official said.
Firefighters got a call at 12:05 a.m. about smoke coming from the three-story, six-unit building in the 11200 block of Moraine Drive, and they found a fire in the first-floor living room of the unit where the father and the kids lived, North Palos Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Chris Perry said.
The family escaped before firefighters arrived, and their injuries were non-life-threatening, Perry said. A sixth family member was not home at the time.
Monica Almaguer, 25, her boyfriend Jonathan Ramos and pet dog Arthur were sleeping in their second-floor apartment when they awoke to a smoke alarm and screams from the family in the first-floor unit.
“They were yelling for help,” she said.
She, Ramos and their dog were able to flee the building through the back entrance. They suffered no injuries.
“I’m glad we had that back way because the hallway was filled with smoke,” she said. “Arthur, at first, didn’t want to walk out into the hallway.”
Almaguer later visited the apartment and was disappointed by what she found.
“My purse and some clothing I checked reek of smoke. We have smoke damage, but we’re OK,” she said.
Windows of the first-floor apartment were boarded up Tuesday morning. Shards of glass littered the front porch and the walkway on the south side of the building,
“Three months in my first apartment and this happens,” Almaguer said as she looked at the building, located on a quiet street one block east of Stagg High School.
It will be a while before she, Ramos and Arthur can return to the apartment. Meanwhile, they planned to stay with Almaguer’s parents in Lockport.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, but it was confined to the first-floor unit and was extinguished within minutes, Perry said. He said he would consult with the building commissioner as to when the other families can safely return to their apartments.
Contributing: Steve Metsch