Man Rescued From Suspicious Englewood Fire

Fire started in front stairwell forced man to third-floor ledge, fire officials said

By Lauren Petty
|  Monday, Jul 29, 2013  |  Updated 11:50 AM CDT
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Firefighters rescued a 26-year-old Chicago man stuck on the third floor of a burning Englewood building. Lauren Petty reports.

Firefighters rescued a 26-year-old Chicago man stuck on the third floor of a burning Englewood building. Lauren Petty reports.

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A 26-year-old Chicago man was rescued from an Englewood building that caught fire Monday morning, officials said.

Fire Comm. John McNicholas said the fire, which began just before 7 a.m. in the front stairwell of the apartment building on the 5600 block of South Racine, appears suspicious. The whole stairwell was fully engulfed, McNicholas said.

“Upon my arrival, first on scene, the stairwell was an inferno from the ground floor up," McNicholas said, "and the 3rd floor had heavy fire showing.”

Neighbors told NBC Chicago the rescued man broke out a third-floor window and was on the ledge when the first firefighters arrived. They urged him not to jump and got him down with a ladder.

“He was on the edge of the ledge," neighbor Denise Martin said. "He was stuck. So the fire department saved his life.”

Fire officials said the man was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center with burns and cuts from the broken glass.

“He was alert, he was talking," McNicholas said. "He did suffer some lacerations and some burns.”

The rescued man's mother, Geraldine Russell, said she heard the smoke detector and made it out of the building with her boyfriend on the fire escape.

“The smoke just came out of nowhere," Russell said, "and the whole house was filling up with black smoke. Real bad.”

Russell said she doesn’t know who would do such a thing.

“The only thing I know is that I’m out of a house," she said. "My clothes, my food, everything I own is up in there.”             

The blaze remains under investigation.

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