An apartment fire that broke out around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday near Humphrey Avenue and Harrison Street, displacing 18 residents, according to Oak Park Deputy Fire Chief Peter Pilafas.
Pilafas said no one was injured and everyone was evacuated without incident at 846 S. Humphrey Ave. It took firefighters from Oak Park and Forest Park about 15 to 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, which was contained to the single ground-floor unit in the 11-unit building.
“The entire building did sustain some smoke damage, but the main fire was in the one unit, and there was no structural damage,” Pilafas said.
Tia Etu, owner of the art gallery, Whatever Comes To Mind Studios, 27 Harrison St., said she first heard and saw emergency response vehicles arrive at the scene, and when she stepped out a few minutes later, “flames were just shooting out of this window.”
Etu provided shelter for the displaced residents while firefighters doused the flames. She said the woman whose apartment was the origin of the fire “was very distraught.”
“It seems like most of [the residents] had insurance, and I think they’re grateful for that,” Etu said.
Pilafas said the building at 846 Humphrey Ave. is connected to buildings at 844 Humphrey Ave. and 12 Harrison St. Those buildings also suffered smoke damage.
He said the Oak Park Fire Department still is investigating the cause of the fire and where it started in the apartment.
The fire was more easily contained to the single unit because the occupant of that unit closed the door to her apartment upon leaving, preventing the fire from spreading to the hallway.
“Taking that one action contained [the fire] to that apartment without it spreading to that whole building,” Pilafas said.
Pilafas described the fire as a “full still alarm,” prompting a response of all Oak Park fire companies, two fire engines, two ambulances an emergency truck, the Oak Park fire chief and deputy chief and a fire engine from Forest Park.
Pilafas thanked Etu for her help in giving displaced residents a place to warm up and regroup after the fire.