Five people were taken to area hospitals after a fire broke out early Monday morning inside a home in the 4300 block of Blanchan Avenue in Brookfield.
The victims, described as a 55-year-old man, a 45-year-old woman, a 20-year-old woman, an 18-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl, sustained unspecified injuries, according to Brookfield officials.
All five had evacuated the one-story brick raised ranch at 4325 Blanchan Ave. before emergency personnel arrived on the scene, about 5:45 a.m.
“Everybody got out on their own,” said Fire Chief Patrick Lenzi, “but their faces were covered with soot.”
Firefighters, using one hose in front and another at the back of the house, extinguished the blaze by 6:10 a.m., but personnel remained on the scene until approximately 8 a.m., when it was cleared and the home boarded up.
While the entire home was extensively damaged by heat and smoke, the flames were contained in the front living room area of the house, said Lenzi. The heaviest concentration of fire, he said, was near a hospital bed that had been placed in the living room. There was evidence, he added, of an oxygen system next to the bed.
According to Lenzi, firefighters were able to rescue a dog from the basement of the home. The dog was taken to the Brookfield police station for safekeeping. A pet cat died in the blaze, said Lenzi, noting that investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
“The main area was around the hospital bed, but we’re trying to piece it together at this point,” he said.
The fire has rendered the house uninhabitable. Brookfield officials, said Lenzi, have been in contact with the Red Cross to assist the victims, who reportedly rented the home.
“They’re going to need a place to stay,” said Lenzi.
More than a dozen suburban fire agencies responded to the call with vehicles and personnel. Police closed off the 4300 block of Blanchan Avenue to traffic while firefighters attacked the blaze. Officers also temporarily evacuated the homes immediately north and south of the blaze, escorting those occupants to neighboring houses as a precaution.
Lyons Township High School, where the 14-year-old victim attends school, is collecting donations for the family. According to Melinda Edwards, administrative assistant to the principal, the school is looking to collect clothing and gift cards for the family.
Among the sizes needed are medium, large and extra-large women’s shirts; size 12 and 14 women’s pants; size 8, 8.5 and 11.5 women’s shoes, size 2XL men’s pants and shirts, size 32-32 men’s pants/sweatpants, large men’s shirts/sweatshirts and size 11 men’s shoes.
Before dropping off any donations, please call Edwards at 708/579-6305 at the LTHS North Campus, 100 S. Brainard Ave. in LaGrange, so school personnel can arrange for you to enter the building.
If you cannot make it to the school during the school day, call Edwards and she will provide an address where donations can be dropped off.