Man Hospitalized After Alerting Family to Fire

The cause of the fire on the 6100 block of South Richmond Street was not known as of 10 a.m.

Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014  |  Updated 12:47 PM CDT
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Firefighters were called to the three-flat home in the city's Chicago Lawn neighborhood around 1 a.m. NBC Chicago's Michelle Relerford reports for the NBC 5 NEWS at NOON on June 4, 2014.

Firefighters were called to the three-flat home in the city's Chicago Lawn neighborhood around 1 a.m. NBC Chicago's Michelle Relerford reports for the NBC 5 NEWS at NOON on June 4, 2014.

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A man credited with alerting friends and family that their apartment building was on fire was hospitalized Wednesday morning after being overcome with smoke from the fire.

Gerardo Rodriguez, 43, was reportedly in critical condition at Holy Cross Hospital after the fire on the 6100 block of South Richmond Street. He was later transferred to St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee.

Firefighters were called to the three-flat home in the city's Chicago Lawn neighborhood around 1 a.m. and found thick, black smoke on the second level and up the stairwell to the third floor. Witnesses said Rodriguez may have been inside looking for his mother when he was overcome by smoke.

"He's actually the first person that informed us that there was smoke going on," said Rodriguez's nephew, Roberto Vargas. "I hope he gets better and he pulls out through this."

At least 13 people were displaced by the fire, police spokesman Ron Gaines said.

The cause of the fire was not known as of 10 a.m.

Two people were taken into custody as fire officials continued their investigation, but police said the men were being questioned in connection with an unrelated case. 

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