No serious injuries were reported, but around 70 people were displaced after a fire at a 60-unit senior housing apartment building at 1020 Desplaines Ave. around 11:30 p.m. June 12.

Firefighters climbed ladders to the second floor behind the building to put out the blaze. Around 75 firefighters from neighboring departments in Cicero, Berwyn, North Riverside, Oak Park, River Forest and Elmwood Park responded.  

The cause of the fire was not immediately available, but second floor neighbor Irene Triantafillou said she thought a malfunctioning lamp in a unit on her floor was the cause.

As the firefighters finished their work, residents — many of whom were seniors– waited outside, some with blankets around their shoulders. Some clutched pets.

Andene Maughn, who also lived on the second floor, said she was asleep when a phone call from her neighbor urged her to get out of the building. She said the hall was filled with smoke when she opened her apartment door to escape.

The building, called Linden House, has 60 government-subsidized assisted living units, with a largely senior population. When it was inspected by HUD in 2011, it received a Housing Quality Standards score of 79 out of 100, meaning living conditions of the property are “well below average,” according to the HUD report.

Residents would be bused to the Forest Park Community Center, said Mayor Anthony Calderone, who was on the scene.

“No one goes back in the building tonight. There’s too much water damage and they’ve turned off the electricity,” he said.

The Red Cross would arrange overnight shelter for residents, Calderone said. 

Jean Lotus

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...

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