Police, firefighters dodge flames in heroic rescues

February 14, 2008 10:46:09 AM PST
About a dozen people were rescued from a burning building on Chicago's North Side thanks to the heroic efforts of some Chicago firefighters and police officers. Putting the safety of others first, several brave Chicago police officers dodged heavy flames in order to rescue the people inside. They led the residents, including several children, to safety from the burning seven-story building.

The fire started in a unit on the 5th floor of the public housing building around 2:30 a.m. Smoke quickly spread to the other units. Officer Dave Fudacz was on the scene first.

"Me and my partner were doing a building check there. We seen smoke going out the window. We ran up in the building, we gave our location and got assists from these guys and got the people out of there," said Officer Dave Fudacz, Chicago Police Department.

Detective Robert McVicker was also among the first to respond. He carried one child safely out of the building.

"We went right to the apartment that was on fire and to the apartments next door where we found two families and woke them up and assisted everybody out of the building," said Detective Robert McVicker, Chicago Police Department

Chicago firefighters arrived quickly and began battling the blaze. Fortunately the fire was contained to the 5th floor. The fire was extinguished by 3 a.m.

"We pulled up on the scene, the first arriving company. We had fire lapping out the front. Onto the fifth floor landing," said Lt. Wayne Spires, Chicago Fire Department.

Several units filled up quickly with smoke. Firefighter Kelly Burns noticed a young girl standing alone. He escorted her out of the building.

"I poked my head in. There was a girl standing there crying. I asked her, I said, 'honey, are you coming with us?' She was crying. I just reached over, gave her a little tug and kind of exploded her past the door. I think she got a little spooked in the fire and didn't feel like making that move," said Kelly Burns, Chicago Fire Department.

The Chicago Housing Authority building on North Hudson isn't fully occupied so only about a dozen people had to be evacuated.

Those who were rescued are thankful for the quick response by the police and fire departments.

"Thank god they saved us. Man, it was a fire. It was a big fire. That's all I know. It was just burning so quick," said Charles Jones, resident.

One boy was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

The blaze started after someone set some clothes on fire in a bathroom.

Fire officials say that the police bomb and arson squad is now investigating.