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High-Rise Fire In Kenwood Kills 1 Person, And Firefighter Injured

Eight other people were hospitalized after the Wednesday morning fire.

A Wednesday at the Harper Square apartments in Kenwood critically injured at least one person and blew out windows on several floors, fire officials said.
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KENWOOD — A large fire Wednesday at the Harper Square Cooperative apartments in Kenwood killed one person and injured at least eight others, including a firefighter, officials said.

About 10 a.m. Wednesday, first responders were called to a fire at the Harper Square high-rise, 4850 S. Lake Park Ave. Units on nine floors caught fire, Ald. Sophia King (4th) said.

The fire started on the 15th floor, but the day’s high winds pushed it up — all the way up to the 24 floor, Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said during a news conference. The building’s elevators went out and firefighters had to use the stairs to battle the blaze and move their equipment.

One person was found dead in the 15th-floor unit where the fire started, King said. Seven people were hospitalized in fair to good condition, and a firefighter was slightly injured, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

Thirty-three residents refused medical treatment at a hospital, Nance-Holt said.

The fire was extinguished around 12:30 p.m.

Some residents were told to shelter in their apartments during the fire, but that is standard as it can help prevent them from running into danger, officials said.

“The fact that the wind was pushing; the fire went up vertically, and it leapt from floor to floor to floor all the way up to 24, where firefighters gained control of it. They did an outstanding job …,” Nance-Holt said.

Officials don’t yet know how the fire started, King said. “A lot of seniors” are among the residents displaced by the fire, and the owners of the CSO Multiplex, 1301 E. 47th St., have stepped up to offer “anybody who is displaced” a place to warm themselves and eat, she said.

“I have a godmother who lives in the building so I wanted to make sure she was okay, as well as the other residents in this building,” said Prentice Butler, King’s chief of staff and a candidate to replace her as 4th Ward alderperson. “… It has a lot of people that are aging in place here that call it home.”

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