Dozens saved from North Side apartment building blaze

February 20, 2010 9:09:54 PM PST
Firefighters rescued residents from a burning apartment building early Saturday morning in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood.

More than 20 people had to be rescued from the blaze. A warming bus was brought in for the displaced residents.

Some of those on that bus told ABC 7 they felt lucky, that if it weren't for the Chicago Fire Department, many of them might not have escaped.

"When the police or firemen came up, they got us out because I didn't know which way to go because it was very smoky," said resident Regina Griffith.

"The hallway's so full of smoke. There was no fire lights, you know, and the hall lights, they was off automatically, and I couldn't see nothing but darkness," resident John Davis said.

"We had people hanging out all over the building," said CFD District Chief Anthony King.

King described the scene upon arriving to the Rogers Park apartment building. The four-story structure caught fire some time around 1 a.m., trapping residents on the upper floors.

"Our guys did a tremendous job of responding, throwing ground ladders all around the building, and was able to move approximately 30 people," King said.

In addition to the seven ground ladders, firefighters put up at least three more anchored by fire trucks to assist in the rescues. Because there were so many, an EMS Plan 1 was called, sending several ambulances to the scene.

In the end, six people were injured, but only three were transported to area hospitals. The other three were treated on the scene and refused transport.

The Red Cross has been called in and is offering assistance to those who may be temporarily displaced. No word yet, though, on how long will it be until residents are able to return -- if at all.

The three residents who were taken to St. Francis hospital in Evanston and to Swedish Covenant hospital were reportedly in good condition Saturday evening.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.