At least one person was killed and several others were injured after a fire broke out in a high-rise apartment in Chicago’s Kenwood on Wednesday morning. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, the city’s fire commissioner Annette Nance-Holt confirmed.

The Chicago Fire Department on Wednesday, just after 10 AM, responded to an apartment fire in Kentwood, which is located near 4850 Lake Park Avenue. Nance-Holt in a press conference said that the fire began on the 15th floor and went upwards. It affected 10 floors. Residents in the building were evacuated.

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A person was found dead on the 15th floor. Seven others were injured. One of them, an elderly woman, is in critical condition.

“With elevators out and long lead to standpipes crews could not outrun the vertical spread of this high rise fire 4850 Lakepark,” Chicago fire media tweeted.

Nance-Holt said the conditions of all eight civilians taken to the hospital were stabilized. The firefighter was moved in fair to serious condition but his injury was minor.

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The Fire Department confirmed the fire spread to multiple floors of the building, which has 25 floors. The commissioner said the fire started on the 15th floor and spread “up vertically straight” nine floors to the 24th floor where firefighters were able to contain it. The wind was such that it pushed the fire vertically which helped it to spread rapidly, officials said.

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Deputy Fire Commissioner Marc Ferman said asking residents in high-rise buildings to remain in their units was to ensure their safety as the structure was built to keep those inside safe. Sometimes firefighters don’t want residents to self-evacuate so they don’t put themselves in harm’s way, he added.

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Ferman said that they “lost elevators,” which meant the firefighters had to bring their equipment up 15 flights of stairs.
Heavy smoke, debris, and flames could be seen coming from windows as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. Officials were still checking all of the building’s units to ensure residents were safe.

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There were battery-operated smoke detectors in the individual units and hard-wired smoke detectors in the hallway, but could not say if they went off, said Nance-Holt.