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Four children killed, two adults injured in Chicago fire


CHICAGO (CBS) – Four children were killed and two adults were critically injured in an apartment fire early Monday in the Roseland neighborhood.

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports the first 911 call came in around 3:30 a.m. in the 11200 block of South Vernon Avenue.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found heavy fire coming from the second and third floors of a courtyard style building, and two adults on the ground outside. According to witnesses, those adults jumped from a third floor apartment. They were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition.

Four children were found dead inside the same apartment. The adults who had jumped — apparently the children’s mother and her boyfriend — were screaming for help before they leapt from the window, because they were unable to reach the children, who were trapped in the back of the apartment.

“I … get up, trying to get all my things, all my important stuff. We get to running out the building, and then the next thing you know, two people come flying out the window, and hit the ground,” one witness said.

The children included a 15- or 16-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy, a 10-year-old boy, and a 5- or 6-year-old girl. The oldest child was found inside a closet, on top of one of her younger siblings.

The fire started on the second floor of the 18-unit courtyard apartment building, and spread to the third floor, gutting multiple apartments. The children were found in a third-floor apartment.

It was unclear if there were working smoke detectors in the building. Some people who live in the building said smoke detectors had been installed, but they believe only one was working. Others said they did not hear any smoke detectors at all, and were awakened by the victims’ screams for help.

“I saw two people. They dived out the third floor window. They were screaming, ‘Help! Help! Help! Our apartment’s on fire!’” Demonte Gray said.

“Fire coming out the building … glass flying everywhere. We had to get down low so we didn’t get cut by no glass, and that’s when the lady was hopping out the window, and she just hit the ground,” Tiffany Walker said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. At least 30 residents were displaced from their homes as a result of the fire.

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