Burning Candles Blamed for Christmas Eve Fire

Two toddlers rushed to hospital following fire

Friday, Dec 25, 2009  |  Updated 7:51 AM CDT
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Fire investigators blame candles for sparking a fire that injured two young children and sent a fireman to a local hospital on Thursday.

Firefighters rescued the children, believed to be about 18 months to about 3 years old, from their burning Little Village home and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The children were initially taken to the hospital in critical condition. By 2:30 p.m., one of them was upgraded to serious condition, a source said.

Fire Media Affairs spokesman Larry Langford said the children's parents were with them in the ambulances as they sped to the hospital.

The injured firefighter cut his hand while searching for the children in their second floor bedroom at 2812 South Sawyer Ave. He was one of two firefighters who grabbed the children from their bedroom, and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition, according to a Fire Department spokesman

"This is the worst gift you could give someone on Christmas Eve," said Juan Guerrero, as he said as they stood shivering in the rain staring at the broken windows, charred windowsills and string of Christmas lights across the building's front porch.

Guerrero is one of six people who live on the first floor. The family, who got out safely, spent Thursday morning carrying out bags of possessions.

Firefighters responded to a 7:58 a.m. call about a carbon monoxide alarm going off, Langford said.

"We got on the scene and the mama was outside," Langford said. "She had slipped and fallen and was yelling 'My kids are upstairs and there is a fire!'" 

The fire was in a rear bedroom on the second floor, Langford said. The children were found in the center bedroom, he said. They were not burned but suffered smoke inhalation, he said.

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