Wicker Park home on Potomac engulfed in flames


Street was filled with smoke and light as fire department strikes fire in 2100 block of W. Potomac*


Firemen enter Potomac home amid licking flames and thick billowing smoke*

"Down the street, It looked like there was a blizzard and there was the smell of smoke. I started running toward my house. Our neighbors house was engulfed in smoke. As I got here, the neighbor came running out of his house literally being chased by flames. The flames shot out behind him and  at that moment the entire house became engulfed in flames," described Steve Cropper, standing in front of a graystone three-flat in the 2100 West block of Potomac.


Steve Cropper shares his experience

"Since our building is so close to the house, our building started burning. As you can see, the first floor tenants have to move out. [People were carrying out container after container as we spoke.] We are going to be able to stay, I think, but they are trying to assess the damage. I think we'll have to have some floors replaced from the water damage. The fire department had to come in and break the windows out."


Flames leaped to the building on the west*

"I was half asleep watching a movie last night, close to 9:30 or 10 last night," explained Jennifer Bisbing who lives a few doors west of the burned out cottage. "I heard the fire trucks and looked out my window. Seeing the reflections of flames in windows across the street, with adrenalin pumping, I put on my boots and ran downstairs thinking that the fire was next door to me where they've been doing construction work.

"When I realized that the fire was not next door. I quickly ran up to get my camera.  Firemen were amazing in saving the house and the buildings on both sides. The smoke was intense.

"The whole experience was community oriented. Everyone including a family with their dog from across the street were hanging out, talking and helping. It felt like a small town. Though I went upstairs after about 20 minutes, the fire trucks were there for about an hour and I heard constant status updates from their radios like 'second floor clear.'"


In daylight, the board ups and singed exterior do not reflect the darting flames and choking smoke of the previous night

Building owner Tom Ambry was also on the scene Sunday afternoon, helping the tenants and trying to get estimates from contractors.

According to neighbors a woman lived in the house with a son, possibly in his thirties. A for-sale sign went up and supposedly no one was living there. In reality the woman and her son were there using space heaters because the heat had been turned off. It is believed that one of the heaters set a bedding on fire.

According to the Chicago Tribune, paramedics checked out two people and convinced the woman to be taken to St. Mary's for hospital treatment.









*Photos courtesy of Jennifer Bisbing



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