Exploded Oxygen Tanks Found in Carriage Way Apartment Building Fire; Smoking May Have Ignited Extra Alarm Rolling Meadows Fire


Fireground operations for fatal apartment fire in freezing temperatures on Carriage Way Drive in Rolling Meadows Wednesday night (2:00 minutes).

The major apartment fire on Carriage Way Drive in Rolling Meadows on Wednesday that killed a man and displaced 100 residents last may have been caused by smoking near oxygen tanks, authorities said Tuesday morning.

The MABAS Box Alarm to the third level or “3-alarm fire” involving the 49-unit condominium building at 5201 Carriage Way is believed to be accidental.

Kenneth Vansickle, a third floor resident, died after jumping from his balcony. Neither police nor fire officials have released whether Vansickle was responsible for smoking near the oxygen tanks. Authorities have revealed that five oxygen tanks were located in Vansicle’s apartment, and several of the oxygen tanks exploded during the fire. Several residents reported hearing explosions. Residents in the building to the east of the fire building reported they felt their apartment building shake.

Police said Vansickle’s wife, who escaped without injury, called 911 and reported the fire was spreading up a couch and wall inside the apartment. Officials reported that Vansicle’s wife asked for assistance rescuing her husband.

No other injuries were reported involving residents or firefighters as a result of the fire.

Residents were allowed short-term access to some units over the weekend to retrieve personal belongings, such as purses, wallets, documents, computers and some clothing.

Residents’ vehicles from the underground parking garage were not damaged. Residents were able to remove their vehicles from the parking garage.

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are assisting displaced residents along with Rolling Meadows fire officials and Rolling Meadows officials, who are helping residents access aid, shelter, food and services. Rolling Meadows fire officials were on scene after the fire to assist residents, and to investigate the fire with Rolling Meadows police investigators and the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

VIDEO: Apartment fire on Carriage Way in Rolling Meadow (23 minutes).

The building that was affected by the fire was the last building on the right side — southbound on the west part of Carriage Way Drive.

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