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Residents displaced after apartment fire at Hunter Hillcrest complex in DeKalb

DeKALB – Hunter Hillcrest apartment residents were displaced following a Wednesday building fire in the 1000 block of West Hillcrest Drive, emergency responders say.

According to emergency scanner traffic, two residents have been displaced from the fire as of about 2 p.m. Dispatchers said the American Red Cross was called for the two residents. A portion of Hillcrest Drive was closed for about 2 hours Wednesday.

George Swope, of the 1000 block of West Hillcrest Drive, said he was listening to music in his apartment on the Hunter Hillcrest building’s second floor early Wednesday afternoon.

“And I heard my neighbor yelling for the fire extinguisher,” Swope said.

Swope, 34, said he went to the adjacent apartment and when he opened his neighbor’s door, “all of this black smoke came out.”

Residents on the top floor of the building, including Swope, were evacuated out of an apartment window with the help of DeKalb and surrounding area firefighters.

“I just didn’t want to die there,” Swope said.

DeKalb firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire in the Hunter Hillcrest apartment complex on West Hillcrest Drive shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday. DeKalb County dispatcher scanners reported that callers saw smoke coming from the roof of the two-story complex. The fire reportedly came from a residential unit on the upper level of the building, not a commercial space where businesses are located on the ground level.

The City of DeKalb sent a citywide emergency alert at 1 p.m. Wednesday asking residents to avoid the area and re-route drivers as necessary.

Crews from Sycamore, Cortland, Malta and Maple Park fire departments were called to assist DeKalb Fire Department at the scene. DeKalb and Northern Illinois University police also responded to the scene.

This story was updated at 3:07 p.m. Nov. 3 with additional information from residents and first responders. Additional updates could occur.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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