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Woman Returns to Burning Mobile Home to Save Cats, Neighbors Rescue Her

Undersized hydrants and poor water pressure delay fire extinguishment in weekend blaze.

A 52-year-old Glenview woman suffered burns and smoke inhalation after she fell asleep while smoking cigarettes in the bedroom of her mobile home Friday afternoon, fire officials said.

The woman woke up to find the rear half of her Sunset Park mobile home, 41 South Branch, on fire, Glenview Fire Chief Wayne Globerger told Patch. A nearby neighbor had called 911, and found heavy fire and smoke when they arrived around 2:25 p.m., according to fire reports.

Despite extensive burns to her head and neck, the woman, a sufferer of emphazima according to one neighbor, exited the burning trailer and then reentered with a garden hose in search of her cats, Golberger added.

“She was basically standing in the doorway on fire and neighbors had to pull her out,” he explained. “When firefighters arrived she was talking and conscious the whole time.”

It took 50 firefighters nearly 15 minutes to get the blaze under control, partly because of the inadequate fire hydrants in the area, Pioneer Press reported. The mobile home park’s management company, Capital First Realty, was ordered to make improvements to the water system after resident complaints about water quality and safety issues in fire emergencies led to a March 2009 court-ordered agreement with the village, the Pioneer Press story explained. Capital First Realty and Sunset Park owner Richard Klarchek filed bankruptcy in 2010 and have since delayed the repairs.

Of all the streets in the mobile home complex, South Branch is one of the widest, Globerger said. This helped with extinguishing efforts, he explained, allowing back-up assistance from Northfield and Morton Grove. Firefighters pumped water from two fire trucks and utilized water flow from a nearby line at Valley Lo, Sunset Village’s neighboring subdivision.

Damage to the mobile home is estimated at $130,000, Globerger said. A nearby mobile home suffered radiant heat damage, he added, but no fire damage inside the structure. The last fire unit left the scene at 5:47 p.m. and a board up company arrived to secure the unit.

The victim was transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. No further information about her condition (or the cats') is currently available.

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