Residents of the 1100 Block of E. Roosevelt Road all the way to Lorraine and Roosevelt were surprised this evening at the lack of concern for them due to response time for a vehicle on fire that was parked next to a residential buiding in the 1200 block of E. Roosevelt.
The truck was first noticed burning at around 6:05 pm, according to several witnesses. Multiple calls were made to Wheaton’s 911 emergency lines, according to over 20 onlookers.
By the time the City responded to a dangerous and life threatening fire, it was approximately 25 minutes later, and about 10 calls to 911, according to on- lookers.
One man screamed at a passer-by “Get away from there! It’s gonna blow!”
Had the truck blown up, more than two buildings would have been affected by flying metal and fire balls. These buildings house some of Wheaton’s hardest working yet poverty stricken families in the 60187 zip code.
While small children looked out of windows at a distance of 10 feet that directly bordered the fire, scared residents repeatedly dialed 911. One woman stated that she had called 911, and the police department asked her “Where is E. Roosevelt located? What part of Roosevelt and where are these buildings?” (Even though the address had been given).
Roosevelt Road is one of the most traveled in the county of DuPage. The buildings located where the fire occurred have been standing in excess of 30 years.
“Politics are obviously involved” said one resident of the area wishing to remain anonymous, fearing repercussions from the City of Wheaton, which is heavily influenced by wealthy Republicans.
“It is very concerning to me that even the sidewalks are plowed and shoveled in the blocks of Wheaton where they don’t need to be. Those people have cars. Most of us over here, we don’t. It seems that Wheaton just doesn’t care about poor residents. It’s as if they could care less that a vehicle was on fire and several children and elderly were within blowing-up distance. Many people could have been killed. They don’t care about us.”
This Examiner attempted to gain quotes that were not anonymous from numerous onlookers, but every single person questioned refused to answer as they “feared the City.”
The 1100 block of Roosevelt Road stretching down to Lorraine and Roosevelt is the most poverty stricken area in all of Wheaton.
DuPage County has been noted as “one of the most affluent counties in all of the Chicago area.”
While 911 services on cell phones allow for an exact GPS location of the caller, even though residents dialed 911 in fear of the blaze, it was reported by those witnessing the fire that when they called the city, operators responded as if they did not know the area.
Like many residents in the 1100 block of Roosevelt also stretching blocks to Lorraine and Roosevelt, one on-looker noted “It is very likely that the owner of the vehicle has only liability insurance on his truck.”
Questions about the slow reaction by the Wheaton Police Department and Fire Department run rampant this evening as witnesses watched a single fireman ease his way out of a fire truck slowly, and proceeded to slowly as well to twist the knob on the one fire hose that was used to extinguish the fire.
After dousing the truck with water, firefighters then pried the hood of the truck open and began to squirt the engine down with water.
As gasoline leaked underneath the burning vehicle for more than 20 minutes, several resident’s vehicles, apartments, homes and families remained in fear that the truck would explode.
A smell of toxic battery and plastic fumes loomed in the frigid air filling the neighborhood with pollutants.
Toxic chemicals remain underneath the blazed vehicle waiting to melt into the ground water and sewage systems.
Fire control left the scene approximately 20 minutes after the fire was put out, and the scorched vehicle remains against a residential building.