Prospect Heights Fire Protection District firefighter/paramedics responded at 12:28 p.m. Friday May 3, 2019 to a reported fire at 1535 Cove Drive, part of the Quincy Park Condominiums.
While Prospect Heights firefighter/paramedics resonded to this location, 9-1-1 dispatchers at the Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED) Center received additional information and multiple phone calls indicating the situation was much more serious than first reported. As a result of that information, RED Center dispatchers upgraded the response, sending additionale fire apparatus to the location. At this time, four engines, two aerial ladder trucks, a rescue squad, two ambulances, and multiple chief officers were responding.
Heavy smoke could be seen more than one-half mile away from the scene. When the first fire engine arrived on the scene, the fire was visible and coming from the rear of the condo on the east side of the building. The fire had spread up into the second floor and roof.
The building is a two-story wood-frame structure that has four units, each with its own exterior entrance and an attached garage. With the current fire conditions and the proximity of other structures only feet away, an immediate radio call for reinforcements was made for Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) Box Alarm, which provided an additional three engines, one truck, one ambulance, a rescue squad and three chief officers. The Box Alarm specification additionally sent an engine and ambulance to the Prospect Heights fire station, known as a Change of Quarters assignment, to provide coverage to the rest of the City of Prospect Heights while this fire was fought on Cove Drive.
Within a few minutes of their arrival, the first engine crew had a hose stream on the fire and extinguished the original fire. Efforts were then focused on the fire spreading in the upper walls, roof and attic. Additional firefighters with hoses were deployed to attack this fire and were successful in keeping it from spreading. Simultaneous with this, a search was made of all four condo units and while no humans were located, several cats and dogs were removed from various units that had smoke in them.
The fire was brought under control and extinguished within 20 minutes of arrival using three hose lines and more than a dozen fire units and crews. Approximately 50 firefighters composed the response force. Firefighters spent nearly one hour checking for hot spots and possible extension of the fire to ensure the fire was completely out.
The MABAS Box Alarm (Box #9F) was struck out at 1:19 p.m.
Besides the Prospect Heights Fire Protection District and Wheeling Fire Department that were initially dispatched, assistance was provided by fire crews from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Glenview, Mount Prospect, Northbrook, Northfield, and Palatine fire departments; the Countryside, Lincolnshire-Riverwoods, Long Grove, and North Maine fire protection districts; and the Rosemont Public Safety Department.
The condo unit where the fire began, and the building’s exterior sustained extensive fire damage. The other three units sustained smoke and water damage as well as some damaged made necessary by the firefighter’s efforts to ensure the fire had not spread into other areas. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but is not suspicious in origin. The Prospect Heights Fire Protection District will not be estimating the total dollar loss, but expects losses to be several thousands of dollars. Such estimates are best left to the insurance companies, according to the Prospect Heights Fire Protection District.
The Prospect Heights Fire Protections District reminds everyone to always have two ways to escape from their home, to ensure smoke alarms are present and working, and to develop an emergency plan should their home be destroyed by a fire or other disaster.
Fire sprinklers save lives and property. Had this structure been equipped with fire sprinklers, the original fire would have been extinguished prior to the arrival of the fire department or at the worst, contained to the single room where it had started.
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