Rolling Meadows fire victim died from injuries in fall
A 55-year-old man who jumped from the third floor of a burning condo complex in Rolling Meadows Wednesday night died as a result of the multiple injuries he suffered in the fall, the Cook County medical examiner's office said Thursday.
Kenneth Vansickle was the only victim of the fire on the 5200 block of Carriageway Drive that has displaced residents in all 48 units inside the building.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire and say it may be another day or so before residents of the building are allowed back in to gather their belongings.
Authorities said Vansickle, 55, apparently jumped from a third-floor balcony. He was found in cardiac arrest outside the rear of the building by firefighters who were the first to arrive shortly after 8 p.m.
He was later pronounced dead at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.
The medical examiner's office confirmed Vansickle's identity Thursday afternoon, and his official cause of death.
Outside the charred building Thursday morning, firefighters were cleaning up the scene of what was a four-hour battle and going into individual condos for residents to retrieve cellphones, purses and other necessities.
A resident from an adjacent condo building brought cups and hot tea to hand out to firefighters who had been out in the cold for hours.
Rolling Meadows Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote said the fire began in a unit on the third floor of the 50-year-old, three-story, wood-frame building that abuts Algonquin Road. He said the fire got into the attic and spread down the hallway.
It took more than 100 firefighters from two dozen departments nearly four hours to bring the first under control on Wednesday night. This is the fifth fire at the same condo complex's history, Franzgrote said.
On Thursday, Franzgrote walked through the charred remains with the Illinois State Fire Marshal to determine damage and the stability of the building.
Residents will likely not be able to get back into the building to collect belongings until late Thursday or Friday, the chief said.
Authorities worked throughout the day Thursday to determine a cause of the fire. A fire department official said Thursday night the investigation had been turned over to the police department, and police officials said it could be next week before a cause is known.
Though authorities were still trying to probe the cause of the blaze, residents Thursday were discussing what may have happened.
Iona Siotor of Mount Prospect, translating for her friend, Magda Jablonska, who lives at the building with her husband and two sons, said they heard a resident's oxygen tank may have malfunctioned or exploded.
Aimee Laurinas lives on the first floor with her boyfriend and 20-month-old son. She was about to take a shower when the fire alarm started ringing, so the couple grabbed their son and some jackets and ran out. They got their car out of the garage and drove away.
"We circled back a few minutes later and the whole place was just engulfed in flames," she said.
Laurinas was back on Thursday morning to get her purse and to check on her unit. She said she works at a day care and has gone through practice fire drills before.
"But you are never prepared for it," she said, watching some firefighters load hoses back onto their trucks.
Residents in an apartment building across the street said they felt their building rattle shortly after 8 p.m. Not long after, flames were visible from the building across the street.
The fire was upgraded to a third alarm shortly after 9:30 p.m. It was brought under control just before midnight and no other injuries were reported.
• Daily Herald staff writers Doug T. Graham, Sara Hooker and Christopher Placek contributed to this report.