Fire Wrecks Home on Austin Avenue
Smoking materials may possibly be cause of fire that swept through Oak Lawn home late Thursday afternoon.
A late afternoon fire swept through an Oak Lawn home on Thursday causing heavy damage to the home’s second floor.
Battalion Chief John Hojek, of the Oak Lawn Fire Department, said that firefighters were to called to a single-family home in the 9000 block of Austin Avenue around 5:23 p.m. with reports of flames showing the in the back.
The Burbank Fire Department, which is on automatic support for Oak Lawn, arrived first on the scene because the company is closer to north side of the village.
Hojek said that Oak Lawn firefighters rolled up seconds later and began opening up the roof to stop the fire from spreading inside the house.
“We made a real quick attack. We did primary searches and got everyone out,” Hojek said. “Everything is good.”
A neighbor who did not want her name used, said she had gone into her backyard to let her dog in when she saw flames coming out of the back of the house.
“I yelled for my son and I ran out the font door because I didn’t know who was out there,” the neighbor said. “I saw that [my neighbor’s] daughter and their dog had gotten out.”
Hojek said that the homeowner was out of town and that the 20-year-old daughter was the only one at home when the fire broke out. She was able to escape the house with the family's dog, but three cats were still inside the home. The dog was being kept in a neighbor's yard.
The battalion chief said the cats had not been located “because cats will always hide.”
The blaze was contained to the rear second floor and porch area. Due to the amount of fire in the attic, water was absorbed through the walls causing dry wall and insulation to collapse on to the second floor. Hojek said the home was uninhabitable.
The battalion chief said that smoking materials appear to be the cause of the fire, based on information from the home’s sole occupant.
“They said they smoke cigarettes and throw them into a pot or container,” Hojek said. “They were doing it right but one may not have made it.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.