3 Firefighters Injured While Battling Oak Lawn Blaze near Chicago

Preliminary reports list the cause of the basement fire as smoking-related

By on November 7th, 2012 08:33 GMT

A fire broke out yesterday, on November 6, in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn. Three firefighters were injured in the blaze, with two needing hospital care, and one treated at the scene for a small burn on his face.

They were taken to the Advocate Christ Medical Center for check-up, where emergency operators described their injuries as non-life-threatening.

The fire started at 4900 block of West 99th Street, at 8:50 a.m., in the basement of the building. The dispatcher responded to a mayday, called in as one veteran fireman became separated from the others, and could no longer reach the hose line, the Chicago Tribune writes.

"I’ve been a firefighter for 31 years and a chief for over 18 and when you hear a mayday it certainly adds a little anxiety to the situation," Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets stated.

The fireman found himself in distress, but he was quickly helped and removed from the premises.

"His air was getting low and he became disoriented. […] That is all on your mind but in this situation he was quickly found was able to be removed from the house very quickly," Sheets added.

A co-worker remains under medical care at Advocate Christ Medical Center, as he was wounded when an object fell on his neck.

As the crew arrived at the scene, the building was already assimilated by the flames. A resident stayed in the house, in an effort to salvage it.

He suffered from smoke inhalation, as he attempted to put out the fire before the arrival of fire department personnel. He finds himself in stable condition and has refused hospitalization.

"The fire had a head start on us," Fire Chief Sheets explained.

"Extensive" damage was caused to the resident's home. Preliminary reports list smoking as what caused the blaze; however, the fire department is further investigating the issue.

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