One killed in Bensenville apartment fire
Fire swept through an 18-unit apartment building in Bensenville early Sunday morning, killing one resident and leaving several others homeless, authorities said.
Firefighters from the Bensenville Fire Protection District and Bensenville police responded to the blaze at 361 Marshall Road about 6:15 a.m., Chief Michael Spain said.
"The police first arrived on the scene and reported back that (the fire) was fully involved," Spain said. "The police then went in at the lower levels, the first level and the second level, knocking on doors to get people out, and then the fire department came in and took over the suppression and the search and rescue."
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire and learn more about the fatality, Spain said.
"It's a male. We don't know how old," he said.
No other injuries were reported.
The fire destroyed the roof of the three-story building, which is part of a 10-building apartment complex, and gutted several of the top-floor units. Spain said the building is uninhabitable.
"A board-up company has been called and then they are going to fence it off," Spain said.
He said the fire began in the northwest apartment on the third floor.
The fire investigation will be handled by the DuPage County Task Force in conjunction with the state fire marshal.
Spain said the Red Cross was on the scene helping residents, along with Bensenville's Emergency Management Agency.
Among the displaced residents were Raul and Wendy Carrillo. Raul Carrillo described the scene as "scary."
He said he woke up early Sunday to use the bathroom in his second-floor apartment when he heard a smoke alarm. Going out to investigate, he saw a tremendous amount of smoke.
"Nobody (could) see nothing," he said.
He said he then went to wake up his wife.
Carrillo said the fire did not appear to reach his apartment, but he likely lost his belongings, including Christmas presents, because of smoke or water damage.
"Everything is in there, so maybe we lost everything," he said.
Resident Jose Flores said he does not know where he will be staying. He said he was fast asleep when his roommates knocked hard on his bedroom door to wake him up Sunday morning, allowing him to escape.
Neighbor Josshy Torres said he worried about the wind spreading flames to his home behind the apartment building.
"All that smoke was actually toward us, so we were wondering if firefighters were going to tell us to evacuate our buildings, because of the amount of smoke that we were getting," he said. "Luckily we got our windows and doors closed, but even right now you can still smell the smoke in our apartments."