Glen Ellyn, IL Nursing Home Fire, Jan 1959



Glen Ellyn, Ill., (AP) -- A fast-spreading fire engulfed a landmark used as a nursing home and killed nine persons Friday.
Most of the dead were trapped in a caved-in roof of the Glen Ellyn Acres Nursing Home on the outskirts of Glen Ellyn, a suburban community 30 miles west of Chicago.
Some of the ambulatory patients saved themselves. The feebler were carried out by nurses and attendants. Some escaped in wheelchairs.
When the fire was discovered there were 20 patients and seven employes in the 65 year old mansion, a towered building of two stories and an attic. White stucco outside and wood paneled within, the home had 19 sleeping rooms and two large recreation halls.
Maintenance man ANTON ROSTENKOWSKI was on the second floor when he discovered the flames.
"I ran into a room and grabbed a woman patient by the feet and started to take her out," he related.
"The fire was so intense I had to let go."
"The I ran to the basement to my wife, ELEANOR,
who is ill. I got her outside but when I tried to go back to the second floor I couldn't."
ROSTENKOWSKI suffered burns on one hand.
FRANK MACK, 30, an orderly, said he smelled smoke, saw it billow upward and then heard a nurse yell, "Fire!"
"We started hauling people out, but we could not get some," he said. Those who could walk, we helped. The others -- well, we couldn't do anything
for them."
He said debris was falling on one bedridden patient and that all MACK could do was play a fire extinguisher on him.
Fire fighters were hampered by the location of the home and the fast spread of the fire.
The house, popularly known in the area as "The Castle" because of its baronial style, sits on a knoll three blocks from the nearest fireplug.
Water had to be hauled by truck to the scene where firemen could do little to save it.

Mason City Globe Gazette Iowa 1959-01-31



Glen Ellyn, Ill., (AP) -- A coroner's jury Saturday began an investigation of a nursing home fire that cost nine lives.
The six jurors inspected the ruins of the Glen Ellyn Acres Nursing Home where a blaze killed eight elderly patients Friday. DONALD STOFFREGAN, assistant fire chief of Glen Ellyn, died of a heart attack shortly after he arrived at the flaming home.
John McFarland, assistant state fire marshal, also examined the charred building. He told a newsman he has yet determined the cause of the fire.
Fire Chief James Brody has said one patient attributed the fire to faulty wiring. The chief also said there was a delay in turning in the alarm.
The jury included two contractors, a man from the building materials field, a building inspector and an insurance man.
No date was set for an inquest.
Dr. Samuel K. Lewis, Du Page County coroner, expressed the hope the jury's findings will help prevent a similar tragedy.
Dr. Lewis said a society producing a growing number of elderly citizens "must be prepared to take care of them."

Logansport Pharos-Tribune Indiana 1959-02-01