Family: Girl Ignited Mattress, Sparked Fatal Fire

By Lauren Jiggets
|  Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014  |  Updated 11:10 PM CDT
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Leandera White ignited the mattress in a room inside an apartment, prompting her twin sister to run out and tell their mother. But it was too late. Lauren Jiggetts reports.

Leandera White ignited the mattress in a room inside an apartment, prompting her twin sister to run out and tell their mother. But it was too late. Lauren Jiggetts reports.

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A 3-year-old girl set a mattress on fire Wednesday that led to a blaze that took her life.

The fire started at a building in the 1700 block of West Juneway Terrace at about 2:20 p.m.

Family friends say Leandera White ignited the mattress in a room inside the fourth-floor apartment, prompting her twin sister to run out and tell their mother.

"She ran to try and get it and saw the mattress burning and tried to pick up the mattress and throw it out the window, and it wouldn't go out the window. The air inflamed it even more," family friend Schona Buranda said.

The fire was struck by 3 p.m., and that's when fire crews discovered the girl's body inside the apartment.

A male and female adult were transferred to a local hospital and were listed in fair condition.

NBC 5 has learned that there did not appear to be a smoke detector in the home where the child was found. A smoke detector in the hallway was not working.

In Chicago, it's a landlord's legal obligation to provide a working smoke detector in common areas.

Family members told NBC 5 that they believe emergency crews were too slow to reach the burning, but fire officials say they responded as quickly as they could.

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