Category: Emergencies

Bellwood Man Dies After Fire on Saturday

Sunday, August 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

One man has died from injuries related to a fire that happened on Saturday evening in Bellwood, according to authorities.

According to dispatch records, a one-alarm fire was reported at 218 Englewood Ave. in Bellwood on Aug. 12 at around 6:14 p.m.

Continue reading “Bellwood Man Dies After Fire on Saturday”


Breaking: Fire Breaks Out at 1606 Madison in Maywood on June 30

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A two-floor apartment building at 1606 Madison St. caught fire on June 30. All of its residents have been displaced. | Michael Romain/VFP

Friday, June 30, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 5:48 p.m. 

A serious fire broke out inside of a two-flat apartment building at 1606 Madison St. in Maywood this morning, according to Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh.

Bronaugh said the fire happened at approximately 11:44 a.m. When firefighters and other emergency responders arrived, they found an unidentified adult male who was disabled and bedridden in a basement apartment.

“An initial search turned up a man who was unable to get out of the basement on his own,” Bronaugh said during a phone interview Friday.

The chief said that the man appeared unharmed, but was taken to Loyola University Medical Center as a precaution.

Bronaugh said the fire started in the living room of the top-floor apartment. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The three-unit building was fully occupied said fire investigators. All of those residents have been displaced.

One of them said she is the niece of the disabled man. She said the man lived with her and that she had just moved into the apartment on Thursday.

“I signed my lease yesterday,” said the woman, who declined to be identified. She said her uncle was being treated for possible smoke inhalation. VFP


Maywood Memorial Service Planned for Teenage Drowning Victim on Friday

Cameron SandersThursday, June 1, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

A memorial service for 16-year-old Villa Park resident Cameron Sanders, who drowned in the Des Plaines River last month, is scheduled to take place on June 2, 11 a.m., at Miracle Revival Cathedral, 2010 St. Charles Rd. in Maywood.

Emergency personnel recovered Sanders’ body from the river on May 18, about 150 yards from the railroad bridge where witnesses said he entered the water.

According to multiple reports, Sanders jumped from the “Rainbow Bridge,” a structure owned by the Canadian National Railway and that is located directly behind Lincoln College of Technology in Melrose Park. Sanders could not swim.

At the urging of Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), Cook County officials have launched an investigation into the effort to recover Sanders’ body, which Boykin said was marred by miscommunication. Some members of Sanders’ family also alleged that authorities were disrespectful to them and that the search wasn’t aggressive enough.

A GoFundMe campaign launched on May 21 by Oak Park teacher and activist Anthony Clark has raised over $4,500 of its $10,000 target. VFP

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County Launches Probes Into Cameron Sanders’ Des Plaines River Death

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Rainbow Bridge, the structure from which 16-year-old Cameron Sanders, pictured below, jumped on May 13. He never resurfaced. | Michael Romain/VFP

Cameron SandersMonday, May 22, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

County officials are investigating the May 13 death of a Villa Park teenager from multiple angles.

On May 22, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it has launched a criminal investigation into the death of Cameron Sanders, 16, who jumped into the Des Plaines River last Saturday and never resurfaced.

In addition, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) said that Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard has agreed to launch an investigation into why it took authorities five days to recover Sanders’ body, which they found about 150 yards away from the railroad bridge the teenager reportedly jumped from.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, which took over the recovery effort on May 16, said that the criminal probe is standard protocol. Cara Smith, the chief policy officer for the sheriff’s department, told reporters last week that the department doesn’t suspect foul play.

In a phone interview on Monday, Boykin said that he asked Blanchard to conduct a thorough investigation into the recovery effort. The commissioner also said that he’s called on the state to conduct its own independent investigation into the matter.

“I’m really horrified about what happened in terms of the recovery efforts,” Boykin said. “I’m also horrified about how nasty Ms. Sanders [Cameron’s mother] said that she was treated by the Forest Preserve police.”

According to witnesses, Sanders was hanging out with around a dozen friends on May 13, at around 4:30 p.m. somewhere in the 8300 block of West North Avenue in unincorporated Cook County. The bridge, commonly called Rainbow Bridge, is a popular hangout spot for area young people and is located directly behind Lincoln College of Technology in Melrose Park.

Family members say Sanders, who could not swim, may have jumped into the water after being pressured by peers. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart confirmed on May 16 that there was cellphone video of Sanders “struggling” in the water.

Dart said that the video didn’t show any signs of foul play or bullying, adding that the video does show a young boy who was also in the water trying to save Sanders. The video captures two other boys in the water as Sanders struggles to stay afloat, Dart said.

According to a WGN TV news report, emergency crews were on the scene just before 5 p.m., having responded to 911 calls made by the teenagers.

By Sunday morning, officials described the search for Sanders as a recovery mission that an ABC 7 report said was being led by the Melrose Park Fire Department in coordination with the Canadian National railroad police, the Cook County Forest Preserve and Illinois State Police.

“Boats, canines and helicopters were employed Sunday in the search efforts,” according to the news report.

Later in the day, ABC 7 reported that Sanders’ family said that the search had been cancelled and that authorities weren’t aggressive enough in their efforts.

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By the following Monday, residents from different communities in the area, including Oak Park, converged on the banks of the Des Plaines River to conduct their own search. Oak Park teacher and activist Anthony Clark circulated a flyer on Facebook calling for volunteers to help Sanders’ family and friends find the teenagers’ body.

The reported cancellation also incited the frustration of state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), who represents part of River Forest. Welch said that he reached out to the Illinois State Police to see why the search had reportedly been called off.

But before the day was over, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had taken the lead on the recovery effort, with numerous witnesses saying that Sheriff Tom Dart was on a boat searching the river himself along with over 200 officers from various law enforcement agencies, including the River Forest police department.

Authorities recovered Sanders’ body at around 10:25 a.m. on May 18, 150 yards from the railroad bridge witnesses say he jumped from.

Boykin said that an investigation by the county and the state into the recovery efforts would be helpful in finding out “what procedures and policies failed.”

River Forest Deputy Chief of Police James O’Shea said that his department found out about Sanders’ disappearance through a TV news report, which is also how they learned that the recovery effort had been taken over by the Cook County Sheriff.

“We were never notified by the county or the state that there was a search happening,” O’Shea said in an interview on May 22. O’Shea said that River Forest officers were nonetheless deployed to assist with the recovery effort.

O’Shea said that he agrees with Boykin that there could’ve been better communication between the multiple jurisdictions involved in the recovery effort.

“I think Boykin is definitely asking the right questions right now,” O’Shea said.

Officials from numerous levels of government are demanding that the Canadian National Railway, which owns Rainbow Bridge, take steps to secure the structure, “including installing fencing and posting, signage, to prevent another tragedy,” according to a statement put out by the Sheriff’s department last week.

O’Shea said that he’d like to see cameras installed in the area that would allow police from Melrose Park and River Forest to monitor activity near the bridge 24/7.

Patrick Waldron, a spokesman for Canadian National, couldn’t be reached for comment. Waldron, however, told the Chicago Tribune that Rainbow Bridge is an “active railway line, though trains seldom cross it.”

Waldron added that because it isn’t abandoned, the railway doesn’t have plans to demolish the structure. Waldron did say that several no-trespassing signs were installed in the area last week.

County officials have said that they aren’t aware of other instances of drownings that have been reported near Rainbow Bridge. VFP

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Breaking: Body of Cameron Sanders Recovered from Des Plaines River

Cameron SandersThursday, May 18, 2017 || By Bob Uphues for Wednesday Journal || @maywoodnews

Emergency personnel recovered the body of a 16-year-old Villa Park boy from the Des Plaines River on May 18, about 150 yards from the railroad bridge where witnesses said he entered the water.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Police are continuing their investigation into the death of Cameron Sanders, who on May 13 reportedly jumped from the “Rainbow Bridge,” a Canadian National Railway bridge that spans the river just south of North Avenue in Thatcher Woods in Melrose Park. His body was recovered from the river at about 10:25 a.m. on Thursday.

According to published reports, Sanders and several other teenagers were hanging out near the bridge and that two others had also jumped into the river at the same time. Sanders was the only teen who did not exit the water safely.

In the wake of the May 13 incident, Sheriff Tom Dart has demanded that the Canadian National Railway secure the bridge, which is not marked by signs and is not fenced off from the surrounding forested area. VFP

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Sheriff’s Officers Scanning Des Plaines for Cameron Sanders

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A Cook County Sheriff’s officer looks over a bridge spanning the Des Plaines River at 31st Street on May 17. | Bob Uphues/Wednesday Journal 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Since authorities resumed the search for Cameron Sanders on Tuesday, Cook County Sheriff’s Police Officers have situated themselves on bridges over the Des Plaines River.

Sanders, 16, of Villa Park, jumped into the Des Plaines River last Saturday and never resurfaced.

Authorities had canceled what was described as a “recovery mission” inexplicably on Monday before resuming their efforts the following day after community members volunteered to lead a recovery mission of their own.

Those volunteers included Oak Park teacher and activist Anthony Clark, who helped organize Monday’s effort, and Robert Larson, the good samaritan who gained local prominence in 2013 after finding the body of Bryeon Hunter, the Maywood 1-year-old who was beaten to death, and thrown into the river, by his mother and her boyfriend.

News that the search for Sanders had been called off also elicited a response from a state lawmaker, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), who expressed his disappointment with the cancellation.

As of Wednesday, Sheriff’s officers were spotted along several bridges spanning the river south of North Avenue, including one on Madison Street, between Maywood and River Forest, and one on 31st Street.

According to a Wednesday Journal report, “On May 16, the Cook County Sheriff announced that it had taken the lead for the search and posted officers at bridges south of where the incident occurred, since that is the direction of the river’s current.

The search, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office has included sonar boats, helicopters, search dogs and people searching along the river bank. The search will continue, the sheriff’s office indicated, until the teenager […] has been found.” VFP

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Breaking: Authorities to Resume Search for Cameron Sanders Tuesday Morning

Cameron SandersMonday, May 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The search for Cameron Sanders, the 16-year-old Lisle resident who jumped into the Des Plaines River on Saturday evening and did not resurface, is reportedly back on after authorities had canceled their efforts this morning.

Oak Park teacher Anthony Clark, who organized a community-based search on Monday, said that Cook County officials “have taken over the search” and that they’ll “have the appropriate equipment out to conduct an effective search effort.”

Sanders had jumped into the water with three friends while hanging out with around a dozen of his peers at around 4:30 p.m. on May 13  somewhere in the 8300 block of West North Avenue, behind Lincoln College of Technology.

Family members of Sanders’ told ABC 7 that authorities had canceled the search and that they were frustrated with what seemed like an insufficient effort to find their loved one.

News that the search was canceled also caught the attention of local elected officials. In a Facebook post, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) stated that he was “deeply disappointed that the search for this young man has been called off. I have reached out to the Illinois State Police to get more information about this decision.” VFP

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