Fire guts home, damages apartment building in Oak Park - FOX 10 News |

Fire guts home, damages apartment building in Oak Park

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

No one was hurt in a three-alarm fire Wednesday morning that gutted a home and damaged an apartment building in west suburban Oak Park.

The fire started about 4:30 a.m. in the 500 block of North Humphrey Avenue, according to Oak Park Fire Chief Thomas Ebsen. The home where the blaze originated is undergoing renovations and was unoccupied at the time.

A three-story brick apartment building next door was evacuated, and at least two of the building's 15 units sustained significant damage, Ebsen said.

“Most of them are affected in some way — it's all a matter of degree,” he said. The building is structurally sound, but residents will be displaced for at least one night.

The American Red Cross provided assistance to four families who are residents of the apartment building, a total of four adults and five children, spokeswoman Martha Dittmar said.

The blaze was under control as of 6:25 a.m., Ebsen said. No injuries were reported.

Longtime Oak Park residents Tom Sheehan and Stacey Previn had been rehabbing the house since April and were about to move in with their two high school-age sons.

They said they had been working last night sanding floors, and hoped to move into the home later this week; they had been staying in an adjacent coach house. For the first time, they could turn on all the lights in the house.

Instead, this morning, they watched as crews from Oak Park and River Forest fought the fire at the house, built in 1902.

Nicholas Bennett, 28, and his wife, Emily, heard the sound of breaking grass a little after 4 a.m. They live in one of the first-floor apartments next door.

Thinking someone was breaking in, they called police, but soon realized the house was engulfed in flames.

They don't think there was any damage to their unit, but worried about friends who live on the third floor.

“We just feel so bad for everyone,” Previn said as she sat across the street, staring at the gutted house.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation early Wednesday afternoon.

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