Prairie View residents rescued from house fire behind Stevenson HS
BY RONNIE WACHTER | firstname.lastname@example.org March 7, 2013 12:56PM
Five people were rescued from a house fire Thursday at 23262 N. Apple Hill Lane in Prairie View. One of the residents, Renee McClure, was immobile due to Lou Gehrig's disease. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 12, 2013 3:33PM
PRAIRIE VIEW — In a dramatic rescue, firefighters saved five people trapped on the back deck of a burning house Thursday in Prairie View.
One of the occupants, Renee McClure, who is immobile due to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), was among those lifted from the second story deck to safety. She was hospitalized, but her husband Jim reported that she is in good condition.
“I yelled for everybody to get out of the house,” Jim said.
Two dogs, Dazzle and Emma, died in the fire.
The Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District responded to the fire just after noon, when a Stevenson High School security guard spotted the fire while patrolling the neighborhood. The home, located at 2362 Apple Hill Lane, is on the edge of the Lincolnshire campus. The Stevenson security guard, Fernando Mier, also assisted in the rescue.
McClure was in the home with her husband, their son Kyle, and two caregivers. Jim said he was in the living room when smoke detectors sounded. He ran upstairs to check on Renee, who was in their bedroom.
She was fine, he said, but the fire had already spread into a nearby bedroom.
The McClures installed an elevator in their home years ago to help move Renee between floors, but the elevator broke earlier Thursday morning. Jim had already called a repair company, but they had not yet arrived, and the lift was inoperable as the fire spread.
He and Kyle prepared to move Renee and her breathing equipment away from the fire. Their best option, he said, was the back deck.
Security guard Mier ran inside and helped the family move Renee to the deck.
One of the caregivers had already escaped with the McClure’s golden retriever, Aries, the only one of their three dogs to survive.
The McClures, Mier and the second caregiver, however, remained trapped on the second story deck.
“We were wondering if we were going to have to jump off,” Jim said.
The Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District arrived in time to lift the four off the deck.
“They were screaming for help,” chief Fred Kruger said.
Using ladders, the firefighters assisted everyone off the deck. An ambulance took Renee to a nearby hospital, but Jim said she was going to be OK.
Kruger said investigators had not yet identified the cause of the fire and a damage estimate was not yet available. Jim McClure said he didn’t know if the elevator’s failure was connected.
“I’m glad we’re all OK,” McClure said. “We can always replace possessions.”
As firefighters worked the scene, neighbors gathered around the fire trucks to attend to the McClure’s needs.
Carl Heyden, who has lived a few doors down from the McClures since they moved in about 25 years ago, spoke highly of the family.
“You couldn’t ask for better neighbors,” he said.