Officers Samanthia Smith and Kevin Tate noticed smoke coming from a building at 116th Street and South Michigan Avenue on Tuesday. They heard children calling for help and rushed into the burning home, they said. Overcome by smoke, they shouted for the two boys to break the windows and jump down to escape the fire.
Smith, Tate and other residents stood in a semi-circle to create a net with their arms to catch the boys, ages 8 and 15. Smith said she hurt her right arm and shoulder when the slightly hesitant eldest boy jumped to safety.
"It felt like I was tackled," Smith said. "I feel pretty good today. The key is that everyone is OK. We are praying for fireman who was injured as well."
Two firefighters were injured in the fire. One was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with a broken leg and the other was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park for smoke inhalation.
The home is now boarded up, but residents are grateful for the work of the firefighters and police.
"I do not feel like we are heroes," Smith said. "God just put us in that place. He just used us."
"It was just instincts," Tate said.