5 Rescued in Extra-Alarm Berwyn Fire

Cause of fire remains under investigation.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The fire began just before 6 a.m. at 3642 Wesley Ave. So far no injuries have been reported, said Fire Chief Denis O'Halloran.

    Elizabeth Garduno says she's already got everything she wants for Christmas: her family.

    She and four other people were rescued from the roof of a burning home Wednesday morning in suburban Berwyn.

    "It was a Merry Christmas tonight for us. That was our Christmas. We made it out," said Garduno.

    911 Calls Depict Drama of Morning Fire

    [CHI] 911 Calls Depict Drama of Morning Fire
    A two-alarm fire engulfed three homes early Wednesday in suburban Berwyn and temporarily trapped five people.

    The 911 calls released hours after the fire revealed how the drama played out:

    Caller: "We're trapped upstairs in the attic,"
    Dispatcher: "Alright, you're in the attic?"
    Caller: "Yeah."
    Dispatcher: "How many people are in the attic?"
    Caller: "There's me, my wife, my kid and my cat."
    Dispatcher: "And you can't get out?"
    Caller: "We're climbing out the window now."

    Woman Crawls Out Window to Escape Fire

    [CHI] Woman Crawls Out Window to Escape Fire
    "There was no way out, so I had to open a window and throw my kids out onto the ledge on the side of the house."

    The fire, in the 3600 block of Wesley Avenue, began shortly before 6 a.m., officials said.

    "I went to the back, and when I opened the door it was all blackened smoke, so I just closed it and immediately ran back and started screaming, 'Fire! Fire!'" recalled Garduno.

    Saving her family, she said, came down to one option:

    "The house only has one exit and there was no way out so I had to open the window and throw my kids onto the ledge on the side of the house," she said.

    The two-alarm fire engulfed three homes, one of which was vacant, said Fire Chief Denis O'Halloran.

    As fire roared through the two-story home, panicked neighbors called 911:

    "I hear people screaming, 'Get out of the house,'" one caller said.
    "Oh, my God, are they still in the house?" another was recorded saying.
    "We don't know, ma'am. We don't know," the dispatcher answered.

    Sixteen people were displaced in all. Among the 13 from the middle home that suffered the most damage was Garduno and her family.

    The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Garduno said the home did not have working smoke detectors.