Oak Park home destroyed in Wednesday's fire


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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park Fire Department is still investigating what caused a fire Wednesday evening that destroyed a house in the 800 block of North Lombard Avenue and kept firefighters at the scene until this morning.

Battalion Chief Ron Kobyleski said no one was injured in the fire that started around 4 p.m. Wednesday and took about five hours to put out. Firefighters stayed at the house through the night to make sure the blaze did not rekindle and left around 10 a.m. Thursday, he said.

The home's owner was not in the home when the fire started, but three other people were evacuated from neighboring homes because of the threat of building collapse, Kobyleski said. Those two homes sustained minor damage, and occupants had not been allowed back in as of Thursday morning. There is heavy damage throughout the affected two-story house that prevents firefighters from entering. By Thursday morning, both floors had collapsed.

"It looks to be a total loss," Kobyleski said.

On Wednesday, fire crews were seen forcing entry into one neighboring home by smashing in the front door and evacuating an elderly woman from the house on the other side. There were visible flames on both floors and fire and police crews shut down the entire block to traffic for hours.

Firefighters have not identified where the fire started. It's still undetermined whether the fire is suspicious in nature.

Kobyleski said staff from the village's Building and Property Standards Department are assessing whether the structure needs to come down immediately. Dismantling the home would be necessary so that investigators could be let back in. No one was available for comment Thursday afternoon at the Building and Property Standards Department.

Eight other municipalities assisted the Oak Park Fire Department.

Graham Johnston contribued to this story.

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Reader Comments

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Mark Dodgson from Berkeley  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 5:20 AM

Just got back from UK last night and saw the news. Great job lads - glad everyone is safe. Miss being with you and helping out. Praying you have a safe year.

Cleo from Chicago  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 10:57 PM

For those who would like to donate to the home owner---Checks written for... Vicki should be made payable to: Grace Lutheran Church and School and sent to Grace at 2725 N. Laramie Ave., Chicago IL 60639. Credit card donations can be made by calling the church between 9am and 3pm, Monday through Friday at (773) 637-1177. Because they are gifts to the church for Vicki they are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided if desired. Thank you so much.

Phil from Oak Park  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 10:41 AM

Excellent job OPFD, in saving the neighbors houses. hope no one got hurt.


Posted: January 25th, 2013 9:50 AM



Posted: January 25th, 2013 6:04 AM

I don't see anything wrong with Dans comment. As a firefighter I have on many occasions been in charge of the grill. There are many of us on a fire for long periods of time. We need to eat so we eat. Not sure I understand the why dans comment created such a buzz.

Libbey Paul from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 4:43 PM

WJ, please post if/how concerned citizens can help the affected home owner. Thx

Rich from Forest Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 2:37 PM

Crews did a great job saving the two homes next to the fire building. With the about of fire that was in that building, the damage was very little to the exposure houses. Great job OPFD, everyone goes home safe.

Katie from Carol Stream  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 11:39 AM

This comment is for Dan. I can't believe you would even begin to think that's what they were doing. My dad was one of the ones helping put out that fire. I've known majority of the people that work for OPFD and I sure as hell know they wouldn't stand there making food. How about you go and try and fight a fire. Let me know how easy and organized it is for you.

KrisG from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 9:43 AM

Has anyone set up a fund to help this family yet? I suffered a fire about 20 years ago and still remember what a struggle it was. I'll happily donate.

Mary from Oak Park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 9:25 AM

I would like to thank all the firefighters and police officer that were at this fire. It was a huge fire and you all deserve great praise for all that you did. I would like to also thank the neighbors who cared so much about all. Oak Park is a great community and I'm thankful for all the services we have.

Eric Wing from Buffalo  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 12:54 AM

Also thank you to all of the FD's involved who put their heart and soul to minimize the damage and for making sure everyone is safe. You are the real hero's! Thank You!!!

Eric Wing from Buffalo  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 12:34 AM

I can't believe some of you people. How would you feel if this happened to you?!? Everything that you loved and cared for all of these years gone up in flames? Please pray for them! If you an idiot and want to post rude comments, KARMA is a B@#$%. Love u Aunt V!


Posted: January 24th, 2013 12:03 AM

That's some red hot footage. I think some people need to not take comments so seriously here. Anyways, I'm glad nobody was hurt.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 11:26 PM

Actually my last comment shouldn't apply to opfd. I apologize to that individual.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 11:12 PM

Any one who posts rude comments back and forth at a time like this is ignorant. Get a life. Let's think of something constructive we can do to help.


Posted: January 23rd, 2013 10:39 PM

@Dan that is not a grill you knucklehead. It is a command board to keep track of crew assignments to ensure the safety of the firemen. Nice try at sarcasm...actually turned out to be ignorance.


Posted: January 23rd, 2013 10:35 PM

Dan......you are a jerk

Dan in Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 10:27 PM

reilly, The cover picture was different when I posted. Look at the group and guess which one I questioned.

Janice Patterson from Oak park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 9:36 PM

10 years ago this past weekend, we had a total loss of our home and belongings, on south Lombard. Our friends and neighbors helped out. please post if there is anything that we can do to support the people who are going thru this experience.


Posted: January 23rd, 2013 9:10 PM

WOW. This is a lifechanging experience.

reilly from Forest Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 9:10 PM

Yeah Dan - I'm quite sure they were grillin' brats. Seriously? What were you doing in this weather? Oh right - posting comments from your easy chair. Sitting in the cheap seats, where it is warm and comfy. Awesome.

Robert Burke from Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:40 PM

Dan... No one was injured at the home that was burned.

Cheryl Benson from Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:38 PM

I am really thankful for firefighters. They do a great job of taking care of us.

Dan in Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:13 PM

I hope no one was hurt and I assume the two firefighters in the foreground are not grillin' brats for the brigade.

Another Oak Park resident  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 7:18 PM

holy cow!

Oak Parker from Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 7:02 PM

They are still fighting this fire at 7 PM. Firefighters from River Forest, North Riverside, Berwyn, Stickney, Elmwood Park are also here. Where is the coffee truck?

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