Mount Prospect Fire Department fought a smoky house fire just after 1:30 a.m. Monday morning in the 200 block of South Lancaster Avenue in Mount Prospect. The fire and smoke resulted in two residents of the house being sent to Northwest Community Hospital and caused about $200,000 damage. Arlington Heights Fire Department and Elk Grove Township Fire Department assisted Mount Prospect Fire Department.
Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire. A severe thunderstorm was in the same neighborhood region of Mount Prospect at about 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday night prior to the fire. Downed tree branches with power line problems were reported in the region and the neighborhood was without power. At least one resident had lit candles throughout the house apparently after a power failure.
The fire investigation revealed the home was without power due to a power outage in the neighborhood, that there were no working smoke detectors present and that the fire originated in a bedroom.
Fire Chief Mike Figolah recommends that during power failures, residents use battery-powered lights instead of candles for illumination. He expressed that residents need to keep working smoke detectors in their homes and that the residents on Lancaster were lucky that they were awakened before the smoke was able to cause serious harm or even death.
Mount Prospect Fire Chief Mike Figolah offered the following candle safety tips for anyone who elects to use candles:
* Extinguish all candles when leaving the room.
* Keep candles away from combustible material.
* Place candles on sturdy surfaces where they can’t be knocked over by pets or children.
* Store candles and matches away from children.
* Avoid using candles with combustible decorations.
Also DO NOT use candle holders made of wood or other flammable materials. When the candle melts all the way down, the candle holder can ignite. A very big risk from using candles in the dark during a power failure is that people can fall asleep while the candle is still burning. If the candle extends to other building materials or building contents, the fire can get out of control.
Arlington Heights also experienced minor storm damage to trees south of Northwest Highway in the Scarsdale neighborhood during this same storm — just northwest of the neighborhood of the Lancaster Avenue fire.