Prospect Heights fire was started by teen playing with lighter, source says

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Ill. — Hundreds of residents of an apartment complex in Prospect Heights are homeless after a massive fire ripped through three buildings Wednesday.

According to a source, authorities are investigating multiple reports that the fire was started by a 13-year-old boy playing with a lighter.

Local authorities are now asking for clothing and cash donations. Clothing can be brought to the River Trails Condominium Association, 811 Apple Dr., in Prospect Heights, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Monday and Tuesday.

Cash be donated to the American Red Cross, which has set up a shelter for displaced residents, or the Katie Samsel Foundation, which will benefit families with children in School District 21.

About 150 firefighters from 50 departments battled the fire Wednesday in the 800 block of Mcintosh Court. Prospect Heights Fire Chief Drew Smith said the blaze began about 1:30 p.m. and continued into late evening. At least three people were injured.

Smith said the fire began in one 24-unit building and then spread to two other buildings. Firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to a fourth nearby building.

Smith said two of the three buildings will be total losses, and the third building suffered some fire damage and significant smoke and water damage.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Prospect Heights Mayor Nicolas Helmer said several hundred residents were displaced.

It is the largest fire Prospect Heights has seen in almost 15 years.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter for people affected at Lakewood Chapel, 1307 E. Palatine Rd., in Arlington Heights.

Prospect Heights fire relief by WGN Web Desk on Scribd