Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Uptown Shelter Fire Injures 3 Police Officers

Courtesy: Chicago Tribune
By Jason Meisner - Tribune Staff

Three Chicago police officers were hospitalized with minor smoke-inhalation injuries after a fire Tuesday at a North Side community center and shelter for the homeless.

The blaze broke out about 9:30 p.m. in the basement of the five-story building housing Cornerstone Community Outreach, in the 4600 block of North Clifton Avenue in the Uptown neighborhood, authorities said. Several police officers were assisting people inside when the stairwells began to fill with smoke and they were overcome.

Two officers were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and one was taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital, according to Police Officer Amina Greer. All three officers work in the Town Hall District and are expected to recover.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the fire appeared to have started in mattresses and pallets that were on the basement floor. There was a lot of heavy smoke but not much fire, and the flames were extinguished with one hose, he said.

There were about 110 people inside the shelter at the time, Langford said. He said the evacuation was very orderly and no rescues were necessary.

"The alarms went off, people streamed out," Langford said. "Some of them are waiting at another shelter across the street."

He said they were expected to be let back in once crews had ventilated the building and cleaned up the scene. The cause of the fire was under investigation.


  1. For a second I thought the JPUSA cult might have gone Waco on us!

  2. That's Waco as in the town in Texas, not "Wacko" as in Cuckoo...

  3. How interesting that the Chicago Fire Department paramedics transported 2 of the 3 officers to Advocate Hospital instead of the nearest Hospital (Weiss) as required by City of Chicago policy. They must know that we Uptowners now know ever since Medicare released the first hospital rankings for Chicago hopitals.

    Uptown's Weiss Hospital ranks the worst, along with Stroger Hospital, in a 25 mile area for likely complications and death from hospital acquired infections, pneumonia, and failed heart treatments.

    No wonder the Chicago Police and Fire Department won't take their own to Weiss.

    Too bad City of Chicago policy forces us Uptowners to be transported to the nearest hosptial, even though it is a death pit.

    For Hospital Rankings go to:

    Select hospital rankings, type in Uptown zipcode "60640", and select radius "25 mile" to show the color coded map of all Chicago area hospitals.