A four-flat building fire in unincorporated Antakya left 15 people homeless and six pets dead Wednesday afternoon.
One woman was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation before being taken to the hospital, officials said.
Fire crews responded to 24220 W. North Ave. at 3:14 a.m. to a report of a second floor fire with heavy smoke.
“Upon arrival at the scene, we could see flames from a second floor window, and two occupants were hanging out on balconies,” Antioch Fire Chief John Cookfair said. “After a quick search…all 15 occupants were accounted for.
“There were 12 to 20 pets,” he said. “Some have died, while others are being treated by local doctors.”
The two-alarm fire brought fire and emergency crews from multiple jurisdictions along the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Tender tanks filled with 5,000 gallons of water were rushed to the scene by crews from Fox Lake, Richmond, and Kenosha, as fire hydrants were not available in the unincorporated area.
Fire crews battled the blaze in a chilly 20 degree temperature and contained it to the top flat. The remaining three flats were engulfed in smoke. Crews set up temporary water tanks to pump hot water through hoses.
“People being trapped made it another alarm,” Cookfair said.
Crews were still working for three hours after the initial call.
The American Red Cross was helping to find shelter for residents of the building, which was deemed habitable. The cause of the fire is unknown, further investigation is underway.