Chicago fire: 2 more children die after West Humboldt Park basement blaze

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Two more children have died after a West Humboldt Park basement fire over the weekend, Cook County officials said Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two more children have died after a basement fire on the Northwest Side, Cook County officials said.

Cook County officials said a 6-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy died Monday. A 4-year-old boy in the fire Sunday.

The deadly blaze was in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood's 4000 block of West Potomac Avenue Sunday morning, police said.

The 11-year-old and 6-year-old died after suffering smoke inhalation. Another child is also hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

The victims were identified as 4-year-old Axel Cruz, 6-year-old Jayden Cruz and 11-year-old Angel Rodriguez.

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Two adults were also injured in the blaze, police said. A 40-year-old woman was taken to West Suburban Hospital in good condition with minor smoke inhalation, officials said. A man, 35, was taken to St. Mary's with minor smoke inhalation and was in good condition, police said.

"This is a tragedy for our community right now. This is way past heartbreaking," said Pastor Venus Jackson, program coordinator at Nobel Neighbor.

People gathered in West Humboldt Park Monday to hold a vigil for the victims.

"Any of us who have children can imagine what one would feel losing a child not only just to gun violence, but to fire," said 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts.

Larry Walker, who lives on the block, had just gotten home when Sunday's fire broke out.

"I heard screaming and I ran out the house and I asked the person what's wrong? She say, 'My kids, my kids,'" he recalled. "'The house is on fire, my kids!'"

Walker broke through the apartment's glass windows, determined to get all the kids out, but couldn't.

"I only got just one kid out the house. It was the 4-year-old," he said. "The other three kids get him out the house. I tried, but I did what I can. I wish I would have did better."

Officials were investigating the cause of the fire.

The Chicago Fire Department said companies who responded will distribute smoke detectors and fire safety literature and speak with neighbors about fire safety at 10:00 a.m. CFD encouraged residents to check their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Police did not provide further information about the incident.