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Article updated: 12/14/2012 10:47 AM

Victim of Arlington Heights fire identified

Blaze broke out early Thursday in downtown apartment building

By Lee Filas Matt Arado

Fire broke out in a downtown Arlington Heights apartment building early Thursday morning, killing one resident, injuring rescuers and forcing other tenants to temporarily evacuate.

The fire started shortly before 4 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Hancock Square apartment building on the 200 block of North Dunton Avenue. Firefighters forced their way into the burning apartment and found a woman "unconscious and unresponsive," police said.

The woman, who was identified by the Cook County medical examiner's office as Iesha Bailey, 36, was taken to Northwest Community Hospital and pronounced dead.

An autopsy was expected to be completed late Thursday.

The apartment had working smoke detectors, police said.

Two police officers were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation and released. A firefighter was treated for a knee injury and released.

Authorities said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

On Thursday morning, the balcony door leading to the Bailey's apartment was shattered, and glass and other debris lay on the sidewalk below. Neighbors and pedestrians lingered at the scene as they walked by.

Neighbors said a fire alarm went off in the building about 4 a.m. Shortly thereafter, residents heard pounding on their doors followed by shouted orders to evacuate. Residents were allowed back in later in the morning.

"I figured it was a false alarm at first, but when someone knocked on my door, I knew I had to leave," said Miko Suwa, who has lived in the building for about 18 months but did not know the woman who died. "It was scary."

Roni Kagley, who lives in a fifth-floor apartment above where the fire occurred, said that when she evacuated the building, she could see glass on the ground and flames coming from the balcony doors of the apartment below.

"I was talking to a custodian who said he didn't remember the last time this building had a fire," she said. "It's such a sad thing."

Kagley said the apartment building is home to a mix of people -- young singles, couples, older retirees.

"It's a nice place to live, in a great location," she said.

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