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Residents Pick Up Pieces After Deadly Fire Rips Through Kenwood High-Rise – NBC Chicago

Investigators say careless use of smoking materials are to blame for a deadly high-rise fire in the city’s Kenwood neighborhood, leaving one person dead and dozens of people impacted as they try to figure out their next steps.

The fire moved fast, racing upward and upending lives.

Carlon Brown lives on the 15th floor at Harper Square Co-Op, the building where Wednesday’s fire occurred. Her home, and all of her possessions, were scorched by the blaze.

“Kinda hard to keep composure, but I’m just trying to hold on for a minute,” said Brown as she sat in her daughter’s SUV Thursday morning. “We cannot go up there, my unit is a total loss.”

The fire started around 10am Wednesday morning on the 15th floor of the high-rise.

One woman who lived on the 15th floor died. Her identify has not released. Friends say she was a retired Chicago Public School teacher.

“I am really heartbroken over the loss of my neighbor – she lived across from me,” Brown said.

Several units were destroyed – others suffered water damage.

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are helping people with food and shelter.

Thursday afternoon – some residents were escorted into the building – to get a few personal items.

Fire investigators say careless use of smoking materials are to blame for the blaze. They also say the unit where the fire started didn’t have a working smoke detector.

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