A kitchen fire in a third-floor apartment around 5 p.m., Nov. 30, set the roof of a multi-unit building ablaze in the 7500 block of Roosevelt Road. No injuries were caused by the fire. Police closed the road as firefighters from Forest Park were assisted by Oak Park, River Forest, Berwyn, Maywood, Cicero and North Riverside in battling the blaze.

Fire personnel searched the L-shaped building at 7511-15 Roosevelt, breaking down doors and leading residents to safety. The fire began in a third-floor unit but quickly spread through the attic of the whole structure, causing smoke damage throughout the building. Black scorch marks could be seen from vents along the roof Sunday morning, as a smoke restoration crew assessed the building.

A woman on the third floor told police she was cooking food on the stove when the stove caught fire. She tried to extinguish the fire on her own, but did not succeed. She called 911, then asked a neighbor for help, but he told police the flames were already consuming the stove and upper cabinets when he arrived. He tried to extinguish the fire, but the ceiling caught fire and the smoke became too thick, he said.

Forest Park Deputy Chief Bob McDermott determined units in 7515 were uninhabitable due to smoke and water damage. Residents were taken by village bus to the Forest Park Community Center where some in the 7513 and 7511 units waited for the all-clear to return home, said Director Karen Dylewski. Approximately seven people were not allowed to return to their units.

Police uncovered a unit below the fire-damaged apartment that was filled with garbage and had become uninhabitable due to the tenant’s “hoarding.” The inhabitant agreed to move to another unit while his apartment was cleaned out. The building department was notified by Forest Park police. The unsafe materials in the unit did not catch fire.  

Dylewski said representatives of the building’s owner, Patrick J. Cerceo, made sure some displaced tenants were housed temporarily in vacant apartments. Others were taken to Red Cross shelters, she said. 

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...