CHICAGO — Authorities believe a sudden “flashover” blast at a Roseland house fire blew four Chicago firefighters off the home’s back porch Saturday afternoon, an ignition that sent seven firefighters to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
By Sunday, all seven hospitals were released from hospitals.
Fire Dept. Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt told reporters outside Advocate Christ Medical Center Saturday night that one firefighter suffered a burn, but it was not considered serious.
The blaze was reported just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a two-story, wood frame home in the 200 block of West 112th Place. When firefighters arrived, they learned the lone person in the home had already gotten out, Nance-Holt said.
There was heavy smoke on the second floor and some smoke on the first, she said.
With three firefighters inside the home and four on the back porch, a possible flashover occurred, causing a sudden burst of heat, flames and force, blowing the four firefighters off the back porch and injuring all seven. Some had orthopedic injuries, including shoulder injuries, the commissioner said.
The flashover blew out the windows of the home.
“Everything in there reached its ignition temperature. And once it’s got a source, it just goes. Everything lights up,” Nance-Holt said. “It’s the energy and force behind that push.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation, as is the cause of the flashover. Nance-Holt said a lack of ventilation could be to blame.
The blast led to a “mayday” emergency call. The injured were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and Little Company of Mary Medical Center.
There were no working smoke detectors found in the home.
A resident of the home told reporters she had just left the home to visit her brother when she saw fire trucks coming.
“I don’t know what happened,” Tomorra Watts told reporters, according to the Tribune. “All I know is I hope the fire people that got hurt is safe. And I’m glad that I was not there.”