Following an investigation of an apartment fire on Seeger Road in Arlington Heights on Thursday evening, October 12, 2023, police investigators, fire investigators and the Illinois State Fire Marshal determined that the resident living in the apartment unit allegedly intentionally caused the fire inside her apartment unit at 317 East Seegers Road.
Arlington Heights Police investigators and Fire Department Arson Investigators diligently processed the scene, with assistance provided by the Illinois State Fire Marshal. Police detectives conducted a parallel investigation that identified additional evidence indicating Sanchez was responsible for intentionally starting the fire. Detectives reviewed the case facts with a prosecutor from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, resulting in the offender, Paula Cristina Sanchez, being charged with one count of Aggravated Arson.
Paula Cristina Sanchez, age 51, was charged with Aggravated Arson — a Class X Felony punishable by a 6-30 years prison sentence, non-probational.
An inspection by the Village’s Building and Life Safety Department determined four apartments were uninhabitable due to combination of fire/smoke/water damage.
In a Pretrial Detention Hearing, October 13, 2023, 9:00 a.m. in Room 108 at Cook County Third Municipal District, Rolling Meadows, Cook County Judge Ellen Mandeltort determined Sanchez should be held in custody until the next scheduled court date at which time the Pretrial Fairness Act requires a subsequent review of the Detention Order. Judge Mandeltort set the next court date for Paula Cristina Sanchez on November 6, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. in room 108.
An inspection by the Village’s Building and Life Safety Department determined four apartments were uninhabitable due to combination of fire/smoke/water damage. The Village’s Health and Human Services Department provided aid and support to one displaced family by arranging for temporary emergency shelter in a local hotel, along with providing essential needs.
Apartment fire on Seegers Road just south of Golf Road in Arlington Heights. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Police, firefighters and paramedics from Arlington Heights responded about 4:00 p.m. Thursday, October 12, 2023 to a report of an apartment fire in the block of 300 East Seegers Road in Arlington Heights. Firefighters from Engine 3’s crew, which is stationed about a block away, saw black smoke as soon as they were finished with another emergency call nearby.
The fire department response was immediately upgraded to a “working fire” category. Engine 3’s crew arrived to find fire and smoke pushing out of the south side of the building. The fire was believed to have originated on the first floor, but firefighters also checked for possible extension to the second floor.
Firefighters in Arlington Height have knocked down an intense blaze in a townhome at 317 E. Seegers Road. No word on injuries. Cause & origin TBD. More at https://t.co/vhbRxCcLib pic.twitter.com/08upPo4ABa
— Kris Habermehl (@KrisHabermehl) October 12, 2023
Responding police officers were unable to make entry into the specific unit wherein the fire was centered due to heavy smoke and fire. Instead, first-in Arlington Heights Fire Department personnel conducted an expedited search and evacuation of the entire building. All residents were able to vacate the building without any reported injuries. A 51 year-old female leases the apartment unit that was affected by fire, and she was located uninjured outside the building.
While most residents were allowed to return to their homes, at least three individual units remained uninhabitable. The Police Department aided those who were displaced.
A neighbor said the fire spread quickly, but that the fire department got there right away. A strong breeze probably helped spread the fire. According to the NWS Chicago office at O’Hare International Airport, the wind was from the northeast at 15 MPH, gusting to 22 MPH at 3:51 p.m.
Winds are forecat to continued to be gusty from the northeast until about 10:00 p.m., and then shift from the east. Wind gusts are forecast to increase after midnight, and continue all day Friday.
Rain is not expected until Friday morning, beginning about 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and continuing all day with thundershowers between 5:00 p.m. and possibly overnight to Saturday morning. Over 1.5 inch of rain is likely tomorrow.
Firefighters had water on the fire immediately.
The fire was declared out within about 15 minutes – estimated.
No known injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is being investigated by the fire department and the police department. A light tower was set up to illuminate the scene during the investigation which continued into the night.
Firefighters, paramedics, and/or command officers from Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect and Schaumburg were assigned to the scene for mutual aid for Arlington Heights firefighters and paramedics.
Firefighters and paramedics from Palatine and Wheeling were assigned to stand by in Arlington Heights fire stations while the fire was extinguished and the scene was washed down and overhauled.
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