House Fire Kills Man, Age 76, and Injures, Displaces 6 Others on Drexel Blvd, Antioch

Antioch firefighter/paramedics responded about 10:21 a.m. Sunday to a house fire at 38612 N Drexel Boulevard, Antioch with a report that people were trapped inside the house. Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire showing from the house. At least five of six residents in the house were reported to have evacuated the burning home before firefighters arrived. Firefighters immediately completed donning their protective gear with self-contained breathing apparatus for an interior attack, and entered the house with a hose line. Firefighters were able to recover the sixth person, who was in cardiac arrest. Lake County Sheriff’s Department later reported that six of seven residents were able to escape the fire before firefighters arrived.

Lowell B. Simonson, 76, who was unable to escape the fire, was located in an upstairs bedroom by firefighters, according the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Simonson was pronounced dead while en route to Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry. His body failed to respond to CPR and Advanced Life Support.

Patricia A. Simonson, 74, injured by heavy smoke in the house, was transported to Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry. She was listed in serious condition from smoke inhalation Sunday afternoon.

Lowell and Patricia’s daughter and three grandchildren, and Patricia’s disabled sister were treated for minor injuries at the scene and released, according to a Lake County Sheriff’s Department release.

A firefighter, who injured an ankle, was transported to Vista Lindenhurst Medical Center in Lindenhurst, Illinois.

Preliminary investigation indicates the fire started in an upstairs room of the three-story house, where oxygen tanks were located. Some of the oxygen tanks exploded, but no foul play is suspected according to Antioch Deputy Chief Fire Chris Lienhardt. The Illinois State Fire Marshal and two investigators from Fox Lake Fire Department were requested at the scene. The house was destroyed by the fire, and will require further demolition after the investigation is completed.

Today’s fire is the third fatal fire in less than one month in Chicagoland that involved oxygen tanks. Last night a man was killed in an apartment fire at 300 South Damen Avenue. On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 a man was killed when he jumped from his apartment on the third floor. The Rolling Meadows man may have been smoking near the oxygen tanks.

A MABAS Box Alarm for tender (tanker) fire crews was elevated to a 3rd alarm because the neighborhood does not have fire hydrants. A special alarm for an extra engine, Quad 2 Rehab and a McHenry paramedic rescue ambulance was also requested.

Firefighter/paramedics from Fox Lake, Lake Villa McHenry, Newport, and Round Lake in Illinois, and firefighter/paramedics from Bristol, Randall, Salem, Silver Lake, Trevor and Wilmot in Wisconsin responded to the extra alarm MABAS Box Alarm.

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