Lake in the Hills apartment building fire displaces residents (with video)

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LAKE IN THE HILLS – One person was injured and about 20 were displaced in a fire that broke out late Tuesday night at an apartment building in Lake in the Hills, fire officials said.

Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District Chief Patrick Mullen said a call came in at 11:53 p.m. Tuesday from a passer-by of a three-story apartment building on fire at 1363 Cunat Court.

First responders initially arrived on the scene to find the second- and third-floor balconies fully engulfed and started evacuating the building, Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Peter Van Dorpe said.

He later added firefighters ran into a slight snag while battling the blaze.

“There was a bad hydrant in the area – it just didn’t operate properly, and it was the closest one,” Van Dorpe said. “They had to go to the next hydrant down, so we were without water for maybe a minute and that just added to the challenge.”

An older man had to be rescued from the balcony of the burning building and was taken to Sherman Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, Mullen said. He said the man was in stable condition and was the only person taken from the scene.

Neighbor Danny Chavez said he saw the man on the balcony and yelled to ask him why he wasn’t leaving. He said the man said there was too much smoke. Chavez said he alerted police and firefighters who then got the man down with a ladder.

Chavez said the flames shot into the air at least 30 feet.

“It was horrible. It was scary,” Chavez said.

Officials said they declared the fire under control about 1:10 a.m. They said it appeared the bulk of the fire damage was on the outside of the building, including the roof and balcony. Van Dorpe said 18 apartments were damaged in the blaze.

“The building has sprinklers,” Van Dorpe said. “Without the sprinklers it would have been much, much worse. That’s what helped the residents. It helped the fire from spreading faster.”

A wing of the building was deemed uninhabitable, and the Red Cross was on the scene to assist displaced residents, Mullen said.

By 3 p.m., Van Dorpe said the cause was still unknown, but that the fire did not appear to be suspicious in nature. The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the incident.

“There’s so much damage. ... We can’t get right on top of where we think the fire started,” Van Dorpe said. “They’re going to have to chew on this one for a while.”

Fifteen rescue agencies provided mutual aid and 63 firefighters were on the scene, he said.

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