The Park Ridge Fire Department Responded to the Report of an Activated Fire Alarm
On Sunday, February 12, 2012, at approximately 10:50 a.m., the Park Ridge Fire Department responded to the report of an activated fire alarm at 500 Thames Parkway, in the Bristol Court condominium complex. While responding to this alarm, the 9-1-1 center (NSECC) began receiving calls from residents reporting smoke and visible flames. The first Fire Department units arrived approximately five (5) minutes after the activated fire alarm. Units reported heavy smoke showing from the rear of the top floor, and fire emanating out of a top floor window in the rear of the building, with extension to the mansard roof of the building.
The building is comprised of 30 condominium units, on three floors, with a lower level garage and lobby area. The on-duty Battalion Chief upgraded the fire assignment to a MABAS Box Alarm, bringing several neighboring fire departments to assist. Fire Department units began an aggressive interior fire attack, while other units simultaneously conducted searches of all the condominium units and assisted with the evacuation of residents. It became apparent that the limited access to the complex, the cold weather, combined with the potential for numerous occupants could hamper firefighting efforts. Eight (8) minutes after the Box Alarm request, the assignment was again upgraded to a second alarm, bringing additional Chief Officers and mutual aid fire units to the scene. With the potential for multiple injuries to residents and firefighters, the Battalion Chief upgraded the assignment to a MABAS Box Alarm for EMS (Ambulances). This brought an additional 4 ambulances to the scene.
One resident was removed using a stair chair device and carried from the building. The lobby of the adjoining building at 400 Thames Parkway was used for temporary shelter for the displaced residents. As Fire Companies continued interior operations, additional engine and ladder Companies fought the fire on the exterior mansard in the rear of the building. Multiple Fire Companies checked the entire structure for fire extension and then proceeded to ventilate using fans to evacuate smoke.
The Park Ridge Fire Department was assisted on the scene of this incident by units from the Rosemont, Norwood Park, Des Plaines, North Maine, Glenview, Niles, Morton Grove, Glenview, Skokie, Elk Grove, River Grove, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnwood, Schiller Park, and Northbrook Fire Departments. The Northlake, Highland Park, Winnetka and Niles Fire Departments provided coverage in the Park Ridge fire stations during this incident. Fire Chiefs from Des Plaines, Highland Park, Prospect Heights, and Winnetka also responded to the scene as part of the MABAS Division 3 Incident Management Assistance Team. Instrumental in helping with the needs of displaced residents were the Park Ridge Police, the American Red Cross, and the Maine Township EMA. The Metropolitan Emergency Services provided canteen services. The Park Ridge Community Preservation and Development Department was on the scene with the Building Director to inspect the building, as the utilities (gas and electric) were restored to the building and the individual units. Five (5) units were deemed uninhabitable and the residents have found alternative housing for the evening.
One resident was treated at the scene for an asthma condition and transported to the hospital. No firefighters were injured. Park Ridge Fire Investigators remained on the scene for approximately two hours conducting an investigation of the fire. There is no damage estimate available at this time.
Authority of Fire Chief Michael Zywanski