No injuries in Hannah Avenue fire


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Show/Hide Gallery

By Nona Tepper

A fire occurred about 1:30 p.m. in a three-story apartment building at 1141 Hannah Ave. on Jan. 10. 

River Forest Fire Chief Kurt Bohlmann said he had "no idea" what caused the fire and that investigators were still working to identify its cause and the extent of damage. He said 11 fire departments showed up to extinguish the flames. Forest Park officials were too busy to comment on the matter.

All of the approximately 20 tenants of the 12-unit building were evacuated safely, and many were transported to the Howard Mohr Community Center to keep warm. Emergency personnel provided those who remained outside the building with hot chocolate, cookies, jackets and more.

Building manager Pali Melani said he was outside the building when he saw smoke coming from the building's first floor. He went inside and saw a "small fire" in the first-floor stairwell. Melani rushed up from the basement, used a fire extinguisher to douse the flames and "all of a sudden it caught fire again," he said.

Melani said he had no idea what caused the fire. Building owner John Serritella likewise said he had no idea what caused the fire.

"As quick as we can safely get everyone back in, we will," Serritella said.

The Red Cross arrived about 2 p.m. to connect tenants with temporary housing.

Tenant Parmander Kumar said he was watching TV with his wife and son in their third-floor unit when he saw smoke and "just left" through the downstairs fire exit at about 1:45 p.m.

Kumar, an Indian immigrant, said he didn't know what caused the fire but felt worried about recovering "my TV, passport, green card, my family's green card" from inside.

Tenant Jessica Ellison said she was asleep when she heard firefighters banging on her second-floor apartment door. She said she inhaled "a ton" of smoke and that firefighters wanted to transport her to the hospital but, "I don't have time for that right now," she said. Ellison was evacuated safely in her pajamas. 

"I'm traumatized," Ellison said. "I was asleep, to wake up to something like that was terrible. I'm still in shock."

Nona Tepper

Love the Review?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Forest Park Review and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

1 Comment - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Jermaine Christopher from Forest Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2019 1:30 AM

I live three houses down from where the building and saw smoke billowing on the horizon when I was tinkering around with repairing something in my yard. I'm just glad to hear that everyone is okay.

Facebook Connect

Community Guide 2019 - 2020

To view the full print edition of the Forest Park Review 2019 - 2020 Community Guide, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Forest Park.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Latest Comments