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Pilot Died When Small Plane Crashed Into Chicago Area Street Thursday

By Mae Rice in News on Jul 22, 2016 6:28PM

The pilot of a single-passenger plane died when the plane crashed into a street in the Southwest Side suburb of Plainfield on Thursday, authorities say.

Though the crash also set a nearby home on fire, the pilot was the crash's sole fatality, Joliet Fire Department's deputy commander Ray Randich told Chicagoist; the woman in the home managed to get out unharmed with her pet. (The Joliet Fire Department put out the fire, though the home at 1812 Hampton Court has a Plainfield mailing address.)

Yesterday, reports—including ours—said the plane crashed directly into the Plainfield home. However, Randich explained that the Joliet Fire Department now believes the plane crashed into the street outside the home. "When they made impact, the fuel tank split open and it splashed the fuel... across the street, up the grass, and onto the side of a house," he said. There was then "basically instantaneous ignition of the spilled fuel."

Though Randich was unsure exactly what model of plane it was, the Naperville Sun reports that it was a Piper PA-30 en route to Wisconsin.

Randich said his department first received a call about the crash and related fire at 11:14 a.m., and fire trucks were on the scene just over a minute later. All told, Randich said it took about two hours to put out the fire, which caused "extensive damage" to the home, from the first floor up to the attic. (The fire climbed through an exterior chimney.)

The woman in the home told fire officials she at first thought the noise of the plane crash was a loud car or motorcycle, but realized that a plane had crashed and her house was on fire in plenty of time to escape.