Saturday, May 13, 2017

The deadly fire in Peoria's Glen Oak Towers that killed Scott Urbanc was likely started by a cigarette he was smoking and fell asleep

Scott Urbanc

PEORIA, Ill. - Peoria Fire Investigators believe the deadly fire in Peoria's Glen Oak Towers on April 16th was likely started by a cigarette.

42-year-old Scott Urbanc was in the 12th floor unit where the fire started. The Peoria County Coroner says Urbanc died as a result of smoke inhalation, despite having burns on over 80% of his body.

Urbanc's toxicology results show he was taking prescription medication that may have caused drowsiness, leading to him falling asleep on the couch, which caught fire.

The building does have sprinklers in the hallways, but at the time it was built, they weren't required in each unit.

Fire investigators say the structure of the building kept the fire contained and prevented a catastrophic situation.

"When I got the phone call that there was a fire in the towers, I admittedly will tell you that a little string of panic floated through my body of 'What are we going to do?', so I'm very gracious for the structure of the apartment, the door that saved so many lives, and the efforts of the Peoria Fire Department." Peoria County Coroner, Jamie Harwood, said.

The Peoria Fire Department says although it doesn't often see high-rise fires, it practices regularly for them."One of the things that I feel and I have a hard time with is that I don't think anyone should lose their life in a fire. You know, we've come a long way, we used to burn down cities, then, it got better...blocks, and now we're down to the room of origin with sprinkler systems and so there's a lot of lessons that we can learn." Chief of Fire Prevention, Phillip Maclin, said.