Two people jumped out of a third-floor window Friday morning to save themselves after a Lakeview apartment building went up in flames.
The fire left four people hospitalized, police said. The fire began in the 3400 block of N. Janssen Ave. just before 2 a.m. But firefighters say they were initially called to the wrong address, which cost them crucial time.
"Our responsibility is to go to the address given, so all the companies were on Southport when the fire was actually on Janssen," said Assistant Fire Deputy Commissioner John Shehan. "A minute or two in this type is a big difference."
By the time firefighters arrived, residents on the first two floors of the building had been able to run out, but those on the top floor were left trapped.
Police said a man and woman jumped from the third level to escape the fire. The woman landed on a neighboring garage roof in a desperate move to survive as the flames fully consumed the floor of the building.
"The woman was very smart," said neighbor Mark Oswald. "She covered herself in blankets and quilts and threw down pillows before she jumped, so I think that really helped."
The man jumped all the way to the ground, and despite being critically injured, residents said he began screaming for others to evacuate. The building had no working smoke detectors, they said, so his shouts saved their lives.
"If he hadn't been screaming I would've still been sleeping," Jessica Johnson, who escaped the fire, told NBC 5 through tears. "Thank God that he did that."
In addition to the two people jumping themselves, firefighters rescued another man and woman. All four were transported in serious to critical condition to Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The men were ages 22 and 35, police said. The women were both adults, according to officials, one 23 years old.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.