Deadly Kenwood high-rise fire started in bedroom, caused by ‘careless use of smoking materials’

The fire started Wednesday on the 15th floor and climbed nine floors of the apartment complex in the 4800 block of South Lake Park Avenue. One resident died and eight others were injured.

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A Chicago Fire Department firefighter catches his breath after working to extinguish a fire that erupted Wednesday in an apartment in Kenwood.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The fatal extra-alarm fire in a Kenwood high-rise started in an apartment bedroom and was caused by “careless use of smoking materials,” officials said Thursday.

The fire started in a 15th floor apartment of the complex in the 4800 block of South Lake Park Avenue Wednesday morning.

“Careless use of smoking materials ignited combustibles in a bedroom,” fire officials said Thursday, ruling the cause accidental.

The apartment’s smoke alarm was not working at the time, the Chicago Fire Department said in a statement.

The fire quickly spread along the outside wall of the high-rise building, eventually reaching up nine floors. One person was killed and eight other residents were injured, officials said. The person who died has not been identified, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The building has failed seven inspections since Oct. 27, 2021, according to city records.

On Nov. 7 last year, it was cited for having cracked masonry on exterior walls, not having fire tags on certain doors and for failing to have a required examination report of the building, according to records from the city Department of Buildings.

The last inspection, on Dec. 1, 2022, cited management for failing to provide an annual fire alarm test for the building, according to the records.

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Wednesday’s fatal high-rise fire in Kenwood started on the 15th floor and climbed nine floors.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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