One dead, several injured in extra-alarm fire at Kenwood high-rise building

One person is dead and several victims were injured Wednesday in an extra-alarm fire at a high-rise building in the Kenwood neighborhood that burned through several floors of the building and sent debris flying to the ground.

Chicago firefighters responded to a call shortly after 10:15 a.m. Wednesday of a fire at the high-rise building at 4850 S. Lake Park Ave. At 12:38 p.m., fire officials said the fire was struck out but ambulances were still on scene.

According to city department of building records, the building has been cited for fire-related code violations at least 11 times since October 2021, including citations for missing fire tags on doors and a defective fire pump. The building failed multiple building inspections in 2022.

At least four times in 2022, the building was told to “provide for an annual fire alarm/voice communication system test.” During an inspection conducted by the Fire Prevention Bureau on Dec. 1, 2022, the building was cited for issues in its fire system.

Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said at a media briefing that one person had died.

Ald. Sophia King, 4th, who told the Tribune the victim was a woman, expressed gratitude for the first responders who showed up.

”We’ve got community members who’ve come together. The owners of the multiplex around the corner have opened up their facility for anybody who’s been displaced, so I feel good about that...But it’s tragic that somebody has lost their life. Make sure to check your fire detectors, smoke alarms, double-check things,” King said.

Several other people were transported to area hospitals, a Chicago Fire Department spokesperson said.

Firefighters were told the fire was on the 18th floor, but later officials said the blaze was on the 15th, 16th and 17th floors.

Initially, more than six ambulances were deployed to the building but that was later updated to 12.

As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, building residents were inside, safe and contained.

”My heart goes out to the family of the victim who succumbed to the fire,” King said.

Tony Weems, who said he used to live in the building, had come over to pick up some mail when he saw the emergency vehicles lining the street. He looked over at the building, pointing to the apartments that were burnt.

“I used to live on the 21st floor on this side,” he said. His mother currently lives in the building, but she was at work when the fire started, he said.

Check back for updates.