That's when the father took action, dropping three kids out of the window, into the arms of people on the ground below.
Most of the residents of the South Shore apartment building were back in their homes Sunday night. The only signs of the fire that took place earlier are the smell of smoke and two boarded up apartments.
"I ain't going to lie,' said nearby resident Martell Thompson. "I was scared, but it's all about the kids."
Thompson showed the dumpster that a family, trapped in their burning apartment, was forced to jump into to escape the flames, and described how, upon realizing there was still a girl hanging onto the edge of the window, he rushed forward to help catch her.
"I just told her, 'jump Booboo, jump, I've got you,' and I waved my arms," he said.
The fire broke out in the second floor apartment of a building on the 7700 block of South Kingston around 12:30 Sunday afternoon.
Resident Sandra Jenkins is friends with the family that lives there. Both parents and all three children as well as one other adult had to be hospitalized.
"They said when they woke up their couch was on fire, so he said he threw the girlfriend and the kids out the window because they had no other way to get out," Jenkins said.
The children, who police say are a one year old boy, a 3-year old boy and a 7-year old girl were all brought to the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. The 1-year-old is in critical condition and all three remained hospitalized Sunday night.