85-year-old woman identified as victim of Des Plaines-area condo fire
An 85-year-old woman was identified Monday as the victim killed in a weekend fire that injured seven others at a Des Plaines-area condominium building.
Hilda Edelman, 85, was found unresponsive Sunday inside the building on the 9300 block of Landings Lane, near Ballard and Potter roads. She was pronounced dead at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge at 9:02 a.m. Sunday from burns, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
Fire broke out on the top floor of the six-story building at the Landings condominiums in unincorporated Maine Township at 7:42 a.m. Sunday, leaving 68 residents homeless and the building uninhabitable.
North Maine Fire Protection District Chief Robert McKay said of the seven people injured in the fire, five were firefighters who were treated for heat exhaustion and other minor injuries. One firefighter remained at the hospital overnight for observation, while the others and two civilians were released, he said.
A cause of the blaze remained undetermined Monday, McKay said. The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is handling the investigation.
Though it sustained significant damage, the building may be able to be repaired, officials said Monday. But it could take up to a year to complete the work, and before displaced residents are able to return.
"To our knowledge, all indications are the building is not a total loss," said Howard Silver of Glenview-based Property Corporation of America, the property manager. "It appears the structure is solid."
The 39-year-old brick and masonry building, part of a complex of condominium buildings east of Des Plaines, remained fenced off Monday. Most of the damage was contained to one corner of the top floor, where there was a partial roof collapse, some bricks missing, and a charred balcony and interior. Some of the falling brick totaled cars parked down below.
Cook County building inspectors visited the site Monday to survey the damage and determine when it would be possible for residents to return to pick up some personal items -- perhaps another three or four days, Silver said.
When residents are allowed back in, one resident from each of the building's 35 units will be escorted by Laurens Restoration, which has been hired by the property manager, and given a few minutes to get some belongings. Since the fire happened early Sunday morning, many fled without any money or pieces of identification, Silver said.
The condominium association has insurance covering the structure and common areas, while homeowners will have to file claims through their own insurance for individual units, he said.
Mary Swietlik, the secretary of the condominium board, said some residents are staying with family and friends, or spending a few nights at hotels. While still trying to get over the shock of Sunday's fire, Swietlik already is getting ready to go back to her job Wednesday.
"You gotta pay the bills, you know?" she said. "You gotta go to work."