Firefighters rescued two people with minor injuries from an apartment building fire Saturday evening in Zion that left nine people displaced, fire officials said.
The Zion Fire-Rescue Department and Zion Police Department responded around 7:55 p.m. Saturday to the 2500 block of Galilee Avenue for a report of a structure fire.
First arriving crews found an exterior fire in the southeast corner of the building that traveled up into the eaves of the roof, according to Battalion Chief Jason Messick.
The flames then entered the apartment as well as the attic space, causing heavy smoke conditions in the east apartment and minor to moderate smoke conditions in the west apartment.
Two people were found inside the fire apartment and treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation, Messick said. They both declined further medical treatment.
Due to another active structure fire in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, many nearby fire departments were not available to assist with the Zion fire.
“[The] primary concern after the safety of the occupants was the health and safety of the limited number of fire department personnel available to respond to this incident,” Messick said.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire and open the ceilings to check for extension into the attic space.
Extensive smoke was found in the attic and a hole had to be cut in the roof to allow the smoke, flammable gases and heat to escape.
Two families, totaling nine people, were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
“Working smoke detectors played a significant role in notifying some of the occupants and resulted in early notification of the fire department which minimized the damage done by the fire to the residents and the structure,” Messick said.
He recommends that residents check their smoke detectors on a regular basis and change the batteries twice a year. The life expectancy of smoke detectors is generally 7-10 years.