Open house planned at Leo Paluch 6 months after fatal fire

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Six months after a fire at the Leo Paluch senior apartments claimed one life and wreaked fire, smoke and water damage on several apartments – the facility is again fully-operational and equipped with some new state-of-the-art features.

Leo Paluch Executive Director Andy Hill said an open house is set for 1 p.m. March 20 at the complex, 17000 Champaign. Hill said he is excited for the community to see the improvements to the apartments.

Improvements include walk-in bathtubs, a new alarm system and various other implements that benefit residents.
“It is state-of-the-art,” Hill said.

Fire Chief Doug LaFond, who has been conducting inspections, said the complex is so nice, he wants to live there.
“The alarm system is one of the best in the city,” LaFond said.

The Sept. 15 blaze was traced to an oxygen-generating device. LaFond said the fire started where the remains of the device was lying.
“We couldn’t find any problem with what was left of the device,” LaFond said.

The fire started in Christine Bentley’s apartment, and the 63-year-old attempted to wake neighbors up to warn them. Her body was found outside of her second floor apartment, Hill said. Her cause of death was from smoke inhalation.

Eleven other residents were treated for smoke inhalation and later released from the hospital.

LaFond said he will do his last inspection on the senior housing March 18, in time for the open house.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at