Fire displaces Mount Prospect apartment residents

A fire contained to a single unit displaced some residents at an apartment complex Friday in Mount Prospect.

The fire Friday evening at the Colony Country complex on Yarmouth Place was contained to one unit, but four other units suffered water damage in the building of 76 units. Affected residents were sent to the complex clubhouse to stay safe and get information. Nobody was hurt.

Fire Chief Brian Lambel and Mount Prospect’s Human Service department director, Julie Kane, were at the scene to provide information and assistance. Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Arlington Heights, Glenview and Rolling Meadows firefighters assisted with the fire.

Lambel said the fire was called in around 6:15 p.m. Initially, the unit on fire could not be seen, because it was in the back of the building. But soon heavy fire was discovered in one of the ground-floor units.

The fire was extinguished in 10 minutes with hoses brought inside the building, he said.

All residents were evacuated and later gathered at the clubhouse to receive information about when they would be able to return to their units or where they might be able to stay if they weren’t.

As a result of the large fire this week that severely damaged three buildings of an apartment complex in Prospect Heights, they were told, the closest hotel available would be in Schaumburg.

Lambel said four to five units’ residents could be displaced for the night. The unit where the fire was contained would likely be vacant for a long time, he said.

“As soon as we get the atmosphere clear, then we think the majority of the people will be able to get back into their units,” he said.

Lambel said the fire left water in the hallways and multiple broken windows.

The smell of smoke lingered for more than an hour as residents convened in the clubhouse.

He said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but it appears to have been a cooking-related fire.

Phyllis Minzer, whose unit was across the hall from the one where the fire occurred, said she would be displaced.

“The gentleman whose unit (caught) fire came and knocked on our unit,” she said. “I wasn’t home. I was still working. And my husband called 911.”

One of the residents who evacuated under his own power was 94-year-old Elmer Hyman, whose first-floor unit was near the one that caught fire. He said that when he heard the building’s fire alarm, “I thought I was doing something wrong when I put something on my range.”

He turned off everything and looked around but couldn’t find anything wrong.

When he peered out of his window at the golf course, he saw people outside pointing to his neighbor’s unit.

“I hear the alarm on the inside (for the entire building) is still going,” he said. “So I went to the door. I opened the door, and there was all smoke. I couldn’t see anything after that. (But) I got out.”