A massive Bartlett warehouse fire in Northwest Suburban Illinois has burned for at least five straight days as firefighters work to extinguish the blaze.
Fire Spreads After Racks Collapse
The Bartlett warehouse fire began at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 3, 2022. At that time, a “few boxes” reportedly caught fire in a 250,000 square-foot warehouse in the 1200-block of Humbracht Circle in Brewster Creek Business Park in Bartlett, IL.
Access, a document storage company, was using the building, which was stacked floor to ceiling with boxes. A sprinkler system initially kept the flames in check, but then the steel racks that stored ]boxes collapsed, causing the fire to spread rapidly.
Bartlett Fire Department Chief William Gabrenya said that fighting the Bartlett warehouse fire remained a slow process and that he hoped that the blaze would be extinguished by Thursday or Friday.
“The crews stated they were blown off their feet when the first few racks collapsed,” said Gabrenya. “You can imagine what goes through your head when you can’t see in a smoke environment, get knocked off your feet, and hear twisted metal collapsing around you. Emergency traffic was immediately called and all crews evacuated. We are very fortunate no one was hurt in this fire. These racks failed very quickly, too quickly.”
2,000 to 3,000 Gallons of Water Per Minute
Firefighters then began taking down the rest of the building’s walls so they could get inside, remove debris, and put out the fire. A construction company also worked to move obstacles so that water could reach and fully extinguish the more deep-seated fire.
The building is a “total loss.” Fire crews have started to slow down operations in order to focus on safety as they faced single-digit temperatures.
“Some of the pumps have been freezing, some of the waterlines have been frozen, and we got a lot of ice on the ground so we had a couple firefighters slip and fall,” Gabrenya explained.
More crews were called to the scene, with a rotation of about forty firefighters at a time scheduled to work through at least Monday, using an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of water per minute. At one point, fire officials were making use of so much water that they started to drain the municipal supply.
Ash Found Miles from Bartlett Warehouse Fire
According to a statement from Access, all of its employees safely evacuated the building. The company also said that it was working with local authorities to determine the cause of the Bartlett warehouse fire and that a recovery team is onsite to “assess the situation, determine any impact, and take necessary actions.”
Officials have said that the air in the surrounding areas is safe, though at least one Geneva resident living nearly ten miles southwest of the fire has reported finding ash in his yard.
No personal injury attorneys are known to have filed suit over the Bartlett warehouse fire at this time.
The Devastating Impact of Fires in the United States
There are more than one million fires in the United States annually, with 1,291,500 in 2019 alone, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA also reports that 3,704 Americans died in fires that same year – more than ten deaths per day. Even non-fatal fires can inflict devastating injuries and disfigurement.
Fighting for Fire Negligence Victims
When a fire is the result of somebody else’s negligent actions, those who have been hurt could seek compensation from the responsible party. If you are the victim of fire negligence, consider following in the footsteps of other people in your situation and retain the burn injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. No other plaintiff firm in the state is more respected – or more feared – by its adversaries, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation necessary to help you and your family get the justice you deserve.