1 Dead, 2 Firefighters Injured in Apartment Fire

The blaze began around 10 p.m. on Friday night, and left more than 2 dozen people homeless.

A deadly fire claimed the life of one man, injured two firefighters, and left more than two dozen people homeless on the city's West Side Friday night. 

The fire began just after 10 p.m. Friday night on the second floor of the Austin Station apartment building located in the 300 block of N Central Ave in the Austin neighborhood, the Chicago Fire Department said. 

Fire officials say the blaze began on the second floor of the building. Firefighters managed to contain the fire mostly to the single unit where it started, though flames did shoot up the outside of the building to the third floor. 

The victim who died was reportedly in his 50s, though the Cook County Medical Examiner has not released his identity. Fire officials said that he used a wheelchair, and was found on the floor of his apartment with the wheelchair nearby. 

His unit was "consumed floor to ceiling," said Larry Langford, spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.

Neighbors say they often saw him in his wheelchair but didn't know his name, with several employees at the Central Plaza Residential Home across the street saying that he was a friendly man "who greeted everyone each day." 

"He was nice. Usually when we come for work, he'll yell out the window and say something nice to us. Good morning and stuff," said Raven Brinson, an employee at the Central Plaza Home. "I'm just like, that's so sad. It was terrible. I didn't think anyone died I thought they helped everyone, but when I found out it was him, it kinda hit home."

One firefighter was critically injured after falling down an elevator shaft, and another suffered minor injuries, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Both were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where their conditions were stabilized, fire officials confirmed. 

The Red Cross was on the scene Friday night, assisting the more than two dozen residents who were displaced by the fire. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

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