Firefighters, cop among 8 injured in West Pullman fire

Eight people, including two firefighters and a police officer, were injured after a fire broke out in a Far South Side home.
April 15, 2014 8:16:22 PM PDT
Two firefighters and a police officer were injured in a house fire on Chicago's Far South Side. Five other people were hurt, and some residents had to jump to escape the flames.

The fire broke out around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening at 116th and Michigan in the West Pullman neighborhood. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, but it may have started in a first-floor ceiling area. The second floor was badly burned. Witnesses say two boys were there when they made the decision to jump.

Cell phone video captured the fire's initial moments as the flames spread quickly and smoke billowed from the home.

"The second floor was definitely engulfed. The first floor seemed like it was starting to take fire also," said Charles Kirkland, neighbor.

The fire trapped several residents on the second floor, including an eight-year-old boy who neighbor Bernard Jones says decided to jump.

"The little boy was hanging. And when we told him to jump, everybody just came in at the same time. So he basically just landed across all our arms," said Jones.

But Jones says it didn't stop with the boy, and an older, teenage sibling also made the leap.

"The little one didn't hesitate at all to jump out the window. It was the older one that sort of hesitated a little bit, but the little guy was like, 'Hey, I'm coming,'" said Jones.

Police and fire quickly arrived and attempted to rescue an older man still upstairs.

"The first person that actually on the scene was a member of the Chicago police department. That person was injured, slightly injured trying to force entry into the building knowing that people were trapped," said Deputy Commissioner John McNicholas, Chicago Fire Department.

The older resident was eventually rescued by ladder, but not before a firefighter was overcome by smoke and another broke a leg.

"One firefighter from the heat conditions experienced on the second floor was forced down the stairs and subsequently fell down the stairs and was injured," said McNicholas.

A total of eight people, including five residents, were taken to hospitals, though none with life-threatening injuries. The stubborn fire was eventually put out.

"The smoke was coming down so deep, you couldn't see nothing," said Jones.

"Substantial damage to the building. What you see on the outside does not necessarily indicate what's on the inside," said McNicholas.

Most of the people taken to hospitals were suffering from just smoke inhalation. The one exception is a firefighter with the broken leg, but all are expected to be okay.


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