A fire devastated an apartment building in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago early this morning. Media outlets report that the fire began at around 3:25 a.m. Central time, killing four children and leaving two adults in critical condition. The building’s 50 other residents were also displaced by the fire.
Children ages 5-16 killed in Chicago apartment fire
Media outlets are reporting that two boys and two girls were killed in the fire. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that one of the children was five years old, while another was a girl who was 15 or 16 years of age. The other two children are said to be a 10-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy.
Officials with the Chicago Fire Department said firefighters found two children in a bedroom and the other two in a closet. They said it appeared as if one of the older children was trying to shield the smaller one from the fire with their body. Officials also say that emergency personnel took the children’s mother and her boyfriend to a local hospital where they are in critical condition.
One resident of the building said he witnessed two people jumping from one of the floors, according to Fox News. He said a man and a woman hit the ground. Officials said they are the parents of the children who died in the fire. According to firefighters, they were unaware that there were children still inside the apartment building because their parents were unable to speak after jumping from the building.
Chicago apartment fire’s cause still under investigation
Another resident said the managers of the building did not respond to complaints about problems that needed to be fixed. For example, he said they never fixed his stove, which had been smoking recently, or the broken lock on his door. Also for quite some time, a wooden slab had reportedly been blocking the back door of the apartment belonging to the couple whose children died in the fire. Officials believe this is the reason the children’s parents jumped out of the building.
A fire department spokesperson said the blaze started in a bedroom on the second floor of one of the apartments, spread into a hallway and up a stairwell to reach the family’s apartment on the third floor. They say the building did have working smoke detectors in common areas but that it did not appear to have working smoke detectors in the units that were affected by the fire. Firefighters believe the door to the unit where the children died was standing open, allowing the fire to burn into their apartment.
Officials have not yet released the names of any of the victims in the fire, although they said the children were siblings. Firefighters had the fire out by 4:30 a.m. Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.