Five people have been injured in a fire which enveloped the 50th floor of Chicago’s John Hancock Center on Saturday, during the afternoon.
Apparently, the flames initially emerged at approximately 2:30 p.m., in the bedroom of an apartment located on the east side of the iconic 100-story skyscraper.
They rapidly engulfed the rest of the residence as well, destroying it beyond recognition. Luckily however, the combustion was limited solely to that dwelling place only, and didn’t extend to the rest of the neighboring flats as well.
Witnesses who were present in the vicinity and were asked to evacuate the area initially feared that a terrorist attack similar to the one that took place is Paris was actually unfolding, and reached out for their loved ones in case they wouldn’t be able to reunite with them anymore.
First responders from the Chicago Fire Department shortly arrived at the scene, and could see flames surging out of the windows, as smoke cloaked the upper floors, significantly lowering visibility.
However, in spite of these difficult conditions, fire fighters managed to rapidly contain the destruction by around 3:15 p.m. They put out the flames, ventilated the area and also made sure that the residents were safe.
A subsequent alarm was issued however, in order to bring additional fire units in the building and conduct floor-by-floor verifications, so as to confirm that no other hot spots had remained untackled. Eventually, it was announced that the fire had been officially extinguished a few minutes before 4 p.m.
Paramedics in ambulances also came in order to provide first aid to the people affected by the blaze, and to transport them immediately to the hospital.
In a statement released by officials, it was revealed that the victims sustained only minor, non-life threatening injuries.
Apparently, one of the people hurt by the flames is a Chicago police officer, who is currently listed in “serious, but stable” condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, after having suffered smoke inhalation.
Health practitioners are also monitoring the other four victims, who have sprained their ankles and have also breathed in smoke, but to a more limited extent.
It has been revealed that two of the patients are now considered to be in good condition, while the vital signs of the other two have also been reported as stable and within normal limits. Overall, the outlook for recovery is favorable among all of them, although it might take a while until they are discharged from hospital.
Currently, investigators are collecting data in order to establish the source of the fire. So far, they have no suspicion that it might be a case of arson, and are treating the event as accidental and non-deliberate.
The floor has been closed, and other occupants have been evacuated, until the inquest is complete and repairs are carried out.
John Hancock Center is by far one of the most famous buildings in Chicago. The 1,127-foot skyscraper, located at 875 North Michigan Avenue, is the seventh tallest building in the United States.
It houses around 700 condominiums, as well as restaurants and offices, and from its 94th floor Observatory, called 360 Chicago, it’s possible to gaze at Lake Michigan’s vast expanse, and to admire a panoramic view of the city.
Image Source: WCVB