3 Children Among 6 Dead in Aurora Fire

12 others hurt in early morning fire

By Marco Stendardo and Zach Christman
|  Sunday, May 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:40 PM CDT
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Deputy Fire Chief John Lehman talks about an apartment fire that killed 6 people, including 3 children, early Sunday morning in Aurora.

CapturedNews

Deputy Fire Chief John Lehman talks about an apartment fire that killed 6 people, including 3 children, early Sunday morning in Aurora.

Six people, including 3 young boys, died this morning after fire tore through their apartment building in Aurora.  Twelve other people were hurt, many of them seriously.

The fire started a little after 4 a.m. in a three-story apartment building at 760 Claim St., on the city's near east side, according to Dan Ferrelli, public information officer with the city of Aurora. The fire was on all three floors of the white, stucco building. 

"The hallway acted as a chimney, and the fire was able to race through the hallway, trapping those victims in their apartments," said Deputy Fire Chief John Lehman.  "The victims on the third floor were very exposed to the fire because they opened their door."

A boy between 5 and 7 years old was dead on arrival at Provena Mercy Center Hospital. Four others, a man of an unknown age, a 13-year-old boy, a 60-year-old man, and a 2-year-old girl, were also sent to Provena Mercy.  The little girl was subsequently air-lifted to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center. 

Two people, an 8-month-old boy, and a roughly 20-year-old man, were dead on arrival at Rush Copley Medical Center.  A 13-year-old girl, a 35-year-old woman, and a 40-year-old woman; along with three boys, 8, 14, and 16, were also sent to Copley in Aurora police squad cars.

Three more people were pronounced dead at the scene of the fire -- a 9-year-old boy, and two women, both about 30 to 40 years old.

A woman in her 30s, and a 2- to 3-year-old girl, were treated and released from Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva.

Fire Department officials said the fire likely started in the first floor, and then spread to the upper floors.  At least 35 people lived in 10 apartments inside the building.

Investigators do not suspect arson as a cause of the blaze.  But the state fire marshal, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping in the investigation, because of the scope of the blaze.

Ferrelli said there were working smoke detectors, at least in the common areas of the building.

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