Two found dead, one child found injured in fierce extra-alarm condominium fire involving a 3-story building in Glendale Heights.
Police and firefighter/paramedics from Bloomingdale Fire Protection District responded about 10:02 a.m. Monday, August 24, 2020 to a report of a fire where heavy smoke was visible from a building at the Water’s Edge Condominiums complex. The building was located in the block of 100 South Waters Edge Drive.
Firefighters arrived to discover severe flames from the second and third floor from the front of the building, and a wall of flames at the rear of the building on the east side of the building.
Bloomingdale Fire Protection District Fire command activated a MABAS Division 12 Box Alarm to request a mutual aid response from neighboring communities. At 10:29 a.m. the Box Alarm was elevated to the second level, and at 10:43 a.m. the Box Alarm was elevated to the third level. The fire appeared under control by about 11:00 a.m.
An investigation tent was set up after the fire was extinguished, and several support vehicles for an extended investigation arrived on the scene Monday afternoon.
According to a news release from the Glendale Heights Police Department, officers were initially dispatched to the block of 100 Dunteman Drive, which encircles the Waters Edge Condominium complex at 10:02 a.m. Possibly the caller saw the smoke from a distance. Waters Edge Drive is adjacent to Dunteman Drive and is encircled by Dunteman Drive.
Police released information that two people were found dead at the scene, and that a juvenile was found injured. The juvenile was transported to a nearby hospital. The information regarding the hospital location and the condition of the juvenile was not initially released. The identities of the victims were also initially not released.
Neighbors were concerned that residents of one unit were not seen out and about at the fire scene. Some neighbors also mentioned that word was spreading that shots were heard just before the fire was discovered, and neighbors were concerned that a shooting may have occurred.
Police have not initially confirmed or denied whether a shooting had occurred connected to the fire scene, or whether the fire was believed to be suspicious. The fire appeared to have been severe and advanced before firefighters arrived, which could be unusual considering the time of day when someone would likely have recognized the fire and smoke early.
A man wearing an ATF shirt with the words “Certified Fire Investigator” was close up at the scene, and appeared to be working at the scene. A blue tent, likely set up for investigation, was set up immediately to the west of the units that were involved with the heavy fire.
According to the ATF official website, “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) certified fire investigators (CFI) are special agent subject matter experts who provide technical support, analysis and assistance to ATF and its local, state and federal law enforcement and emergency service partners in arson investigations, as well as fire origin and cause determinations. They operate throughout the entire U.S., its territories and in other countries as part of the ATF International Response Team (IRT).”
Also according to the ATF, these “CFIs are a primary resource for ATF field divisions for violent crime investigations involving arson and arson-for-profit; conducting fire scene examinations; making origin and cause determinations; providing expert testimony; assisting other special agents and prosecutors with investigations; and conducting training for ATF special agents and other local, state and federal fire investigators.”
There was no indication whether smoke alarms or a fire alarm was activated.
A wood stairway at the rear of the 3-story condominium building was completely consumed by fire. Several condominium units were damaged, and according to officials, displaced residents are being assisted by the Glendale Heights Police Department Community Outreach Specialists.
Two cats were rescued from an apartment adjacent to the burning units, and were brought to the owner in their carriers by Hanover Park firefighters. A third cat wouldn’t let the firefighters catch her; but according to a resident of the affected building and owner of the cats, the firefighters told him the cat was safe and was just running around in the apartment.
Firefighters from Carol Stream, Glenside, Hanover Park, Elmhurst, Roselle, Schaumburg and others assisted Bloomingdale FPD firefighters at the scene.
Three firefighters were injured and were transported to the hospital, according to Glendale Heights Deputy Police Chief Brandon Oliver. A police officer was also transported to the hospital for assessment of smoke inhalation, and was treated and released.
Air temperature ranged from the upper 80s to low 90s with a heat index in the low to mid 90s — reaching 96°F at 12:52 p.m. and 1:52 p.m., according to the hourly observations at National Weather Service office at DuPage Airport in West Chicago. Winds were light and variable at the time of the fire.
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