Fire burns contents of Hinsdale garage
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:15AM
HINSDALE — A fire burned the contents of an attached garage in Hinsdale Saturday evening. A resident of the home in southeastern Hinsdale suffered minor injuries and a firefighter was taken to the hospital, Hinsdale Fire Department officials said.
The damage was estimated at $70,000. The cause of the fire had not been identified as of Monday.
A female resident of 28 E. 57th St. called 911 at 5:33 p.m. Saturday to report a fire in her garage, said firefighter Steve Tullis, department spokesman. The dispatcher advised the woman to leave the house immediately.
When firefighters arrived, they saw flames and heavy smoke coming from the front of the three-car garage. They did not know if the flames had spread to the house, so fire officials immediately called for reinforcements. Nine fire departments sent personnel or equipment to the scene.
“We had no idea initially if the service door (connecting the garage to the home) was open,” Tullis said. “We always plan for the worst case scenario. Once (firefighters) started to put water on the fire, they determined the service door was closed and the fire was contained to the garage. The guys did a really nice job of fighting the fire aggressively and keeping the fire out of the attic. If the fire had gotten up into the (garage) attic, it could have spread to the house and we would have had a whole different situation.”
Firefighters had the fire out in about five minutes, Tullis said.
A resident sustained minor burns and was treated at the scene. One firefighter who was on the roof breaking holes for ventilation felt ill and was transported to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital where he was treated and released, fire department authorities said.
The resident had removed the vehicles from the garage before firefighters arrived, Tullis said. But a Honda Odyssey van that was parked in the driveway was damaged, Tullis said.
“The front of the van was on fire,” said Robert Johnson, the next-door neighbor.
“I was terrified it was going to explode,” said his wife Stacy Johnson. The couple did not realize the house next door was on fire until they heard sirens and saw fire engines on the street in front of their home.
“There were big flames and big, black puffs of smoke coming out of the garage,” Stacy Johnson said.
“It was surreal,” Robert Johnson said.
The Johnsons knew the homeowner who was a senior citizen and died over the summer. The woman’s relatives had been staying in the home on and off since then, they said.
Boxes with the homeowners’ belongings and those of the new owners were being stored in the garage during the transition, department officials said. Smoke damaged the contents of the attic above the garage, which also was used for storage, Tullis said.
The fire departments which assisted at the fire included Pleasantview, Tri-State, and those from Clarendon Hills, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace and Western Springs.