There were 15 people, including six fire fighters and one police officer, transported to hospitals after an extra-alarm fire at a North Side apartment building Sunday morning, according to Chicago Fire Media.
"It kept getting hotter," said Kayla Wells who lives on the third floor of the building located at 6134 N. Kenmore Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood. She was rescued by firefighters from a window.
An EMS Plan I, which sends at least five ambulances to the scene, was called at 10:50 a.m. for the fire at the building.
Several people who were trapped in the building began jumping out of their windows before fire fighters arrived, according to witnesses. Others were helped by Good Samaritans.
"When I 'heard help, help,' I ran," said Ernest Prentic, who lives across the street and saw smoke coming from the building. These pleas for help led Prentic and his friend Areal Delacruz to a family trying to escape from the second floor.
The two men helped Samantha Melecio along with her husband and five children escape out the window.
“We were handing them babies out the window,” said Melecio while watching over her five children. Her husband went to the hospital because of injuries sustained to his legs, she said.
Prentic and Delacruz said the husband could barely move when it was his turn to be helped out of the window.
Melecio was grateful for their help.
“I’m very proud that they helped us,” she said. “We could have been burning.”
At about 11:20 a.m. the fire response was elevated to a 3-11 alarm, according to dispatch reports. This alarm sends 12 engines, four trucks, two tower ladders, five battalion chiefs, one deputy district chief, one district chief, a deputy fire commissioner, a command van and an ambulance to the scene.
"This was an extremely difficult fire to fight," said Fire Commissioner Jose A. Santiago in a statement after the blaze was put out.
Fire Media announced the fire was out by 11:46 a.m., but both fire fighters and ambulances remained on the scene.
Sunday’s record high temperature, combined with the heat from the blaze, was enough to send a few of the fire fighters to the hospital for heat exhaustion.
A total of eight civilians were sent to the hospital in addition to the six fire fighters and one police officer, according to Fire Media. No fatalities were reported and the extent of the injuries are not known at this time.
Preliminary reports indicate the fire began near a kitchen on the third floor, Santiago said. But a full report will be provided after an investigation is completed, he said.