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Fire on the south side

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Now and then we have a client who asks us why buildings (especially those larger buildings) are required to have fire protection sprinkler systems.

Well, this is why.  Here we have a 1970's 25-story building, on the south side of Chicago (Harper Square coop building), that is currently (and I mean right now) having a major fire on higher floors.  It appears to be on the 15th - 24th floors.

This is a disaster... the fire hoses don't even reach the higher floors.  There are many, many Chicago fire trucks and firefighters present, struggling to get this fire under control.

There is no word, yet, as to whether anyone has been hurt, and residents who are not directly affected by the fire, have been asked to shelter in place... so far, the city feels an evacuation order is not necessary..  It's currently in the mid 20's, and snowing,, here in Chicago today.  So being displaced, even to stand outside and watch, would be physically uncomfortable.  Apparently 5 people have been sent to local hospitals (presumably smoke inhalation?).

It's a building of 360 units.  I imagine many of the units, even though they're not fire-damaged, will have water/smoke damage.  So far, the fire damage seems to be contained to one single tier, most likely due to functioning firewalls, that keep it from spreading side to side.  (thank heaven for small favours).

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I sure hope they get that fire under control shortly and that no one else gets hurt. 

Jan 25, 2023 10:44 AM
Alan May

They do seem to have things under control as of now.  Although I just heard that one person (the elderly woman in which the fire began) has passed away.

Jan 25, 2023 01:33 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Just terrible, Alan. I lived much of my life in high rise buildings and gave this very little thought. I suppose that's just as well or I probably wouldn't have slept at all. Hopefully, fire is put out with most of the damage to stuff and not to humans.

Jan 25, 2023 11:09 AM
Alan May

That's exactly why tall buildings, today, require fire-fighting features.

Jan 25, 2023 01:33 PM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

This is an excellent post with great information. Thanks for sharing it. 

Have a super fantastic week! Bill Salvatore with #AEP

Jan 25, 2023 11:57 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I never thought about the idea that fire hoses can't reach higher floors. Of course, they can't! Sprinklers would be the only way to douse the fire. Hope the residents are okay.

Jan 25, 2023 12:49 PM
Alan May

exactly.  I was surprised that it only seems to reach about a dozen stories.

Jan 25, 2023 01:34 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I didn't realize the hoses couldn't reach the higher floors either - I totally get why fire protection sprinkler systems would be required. I hope no one was hurt and everyone got out safely.

Jan 26, 2023 05:08 AM
Alan May

In listening to some later news reports... it does seem that this building did have sprinklers, but ONLY in the public spaces.  Not in the individual units.

Jan 26, 2023 06:17 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Alan-one of my favorite shows is Chicago Fire and I have a lot of respect for what firefighters do. I did check the news and see that there was on death.  Very sad. 

Jan 26, 2023 04:38 PM
Kathy Streib

Alan- I just started watching it this year. It is an eye-opener into what fire fighters have to do. 

Feb 02, 2023 07:27 PM
Alan May

Oddly enough, I've never seen that show.

Jan 27, 2023 02:49 AM