Chicago firefighters this morning quickly extinguished a small fire in a large South Side building that residents said has been without heat and hot water for all but a few hours since the weekend.
More than a half-dozen residents of the courtyard building in the 7600 block of South East End Avenue managed to escape without injury, despite early reports of people being trapped, according to fire officials and neighbors.
The fire may have been caused by a cracked boiler in the building's basement, though an investigation was still under way, a fire department spokesman said.
The fire that temporarily forced residents into the cold streets was just the latest disruption at a South Shore building plagued with problems since it went into foreclosure, said resident Pachina Scarelli.
Hot water and heat at the building was cut off without explanation over the weekend, Scarelli said.
Scarelli said building officials promised to fix leaky ceilings and broken doorbells when she moved in last May. But the problems worsened after the building was foreclosed on with a South Side property firm temporarily put in charge, she added.
"Busted ceilings, rain coming through the ceilings, it's just so much stuff going on and this is what we've been dealing with (in) 22-degree weather," she said.
The building's hot water and heat returned Tuesday evening only to be shut off again because of the fire.
"Now we have no hot water, no heat and (some of) the lights are out (because of the fire)," Scarelli said.
Calls left with the building management company named by Scarelli weren't returned this morning.
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