A rare event happened today in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Eight people, including six children, are dead from an apartment building fire inside a three-story structure. A dog was also killed in the fire, according to CNN.
“We have not had this in many, many, many years — this amount of fatalities and injuries in one location,” Fire Commissioner José Santiago told reporters at Fox News, adding that one of the children killed was an infant.
The fire broke out on the 2nd floor of the apartment building with the 1st floor vacant, reports CNN. The resulting deaths would have been worse, had it not been for the quick thinking of a tenant in the building. Her quick thinking saved a lot of lives, according to the fire chief.
“She had just gotten home from work,” said Santiago. “She smelled it. I think she saw it. And then she started immediately knocking on doors, ringing doorbells.”
8 killed in West Side fire, including 6 children: 'I can't live without my babies' - Chicago Tribune: Chicago Tribune 8 killed in West Side fire, including 6 children: 'I can't live without my babies' Chicago Tribune Eight people were killed — including… https://t.co/ZlHnvjAgBt— Chicago Illinois (@chicagoillinios) August 26, 2018
Twitter account @Chicagoillinois tweeted, “8 killed in West Side fire, including 6 children: ‘I can’t live without my babies.'”
Another woman, Denise Mercado, smelled the fire inside the building and evacuated her five children out of the building immediately, says Fox News.
“I carried my brother,” the little boy said.
Mercado said in Spanish, “The flames…it was huge.”
The fire started around 4 a.m. While investigators are unsure of the source, it is clear the building had no smoke detectors. CNN reports that the building had two code violations during its last inspection. The violations are a matter of public record. As stated in the report, “Extension cord at rear exterior of fron [sic] building feeding rear Building (DANGEROUS AND HAZARDOUS.”
In addition to the eight people killed, two children were injured and hospitalized, and a firefighter was also hospitalized for overexertion but is “in good condition.”
The flames from the apartment fire also caused another building, a coach house, to catch fire, reports Fox News. The conjoined fire was put out just after 5 a.m.
The source of the fire is currently unknown. Only the news that firefighters were not able to locate any fire detectors in the charred building has been reported by various news outlets.