An overnight fire in the western suburbs almost forced parents to throw their children from the three-story burning building to save them, authorities said.
When help arrived, neighbors were holding open a blanket to catch the children, but firefighters were able to rescue the family in time. Broadview Fire Chief Thomas Gaertner said four or five people, including two children, were rescued by a ladder.
Gaertner said the blaze in the 2100 block of West 16th Street appears to have started by "unattended cooking." People living in the building said the person who left food on a stove ran around the 12 units and rang all the doorbells to get everyone out in time.
Bernard Nagra was half asleep in his basement apartment when "someone started ringing the doorbell like crazy."
"I thought it was a fight and then I got up and the building was on fire," Nagra said.
"It was scary, very scary," said resident Sharon Goins. "Neighbors were holding open a blanket ready to catch the baby until the firemen arrived with their ladders."
Firefighters went into the burning building to rescue a handicapped man on the third floor. The man was taken to Loyola University Medical Center, where his condition is unknown.
As of Monday morning no one could re-enter the building, and the Red Cross was on the scene helping displaced residents.