Tenants Say Apartment Building Burglarized After Raging Fire Injures 4, Leaves Nearly a Dozen Displaced

Hours after a raging fire destroyed a number of Lakeview apartments and critically injured three people, tenants say someone broke in to the damaged building and stole some of the few belongings the victims left behind. 

Ani Schmidt said she was searching for a new apartment to live in over the weekend when she learned someone had taken a few of the things she had been able to recover.

“It’s just stuff but it was our stuff we had left behind… our things,” she said. 

Schmidt said she lost some jewelry and other small items in the burglary. 

“It’s frustrating. Disappointing would be one word," she said.

Schmidt lived with two friends on the third floor of the apartment building in the 3400 block of North Janssen Avenue that went up in flames Friday. 

The fire sent four people to the hospital and destroyed the apartment building in the popular Lakeview neighborhood. By the time firefighters arrived, residents on the first two floors had been able to run out, but some 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 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.

Bill Schmidt came to Chicago from Michigan to help his daughter move. After surveying the damage, he said he owes a lot to that man.

“I have no idea who he is, but there are no words that can say thank you enough,” Schmidt said. “He saved peopled.”

The men and three others remained hospitalized Monday. Officials are still investigating what caused the fire.

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