Two Chicago firefighters, including a 9-year-veteran who was badly injured, were taken to hospitals after a mayday alert was called during an extra-alarm fire in the Lawndale neighborhood on Saturday morning.
The blaze, which broke out at 8:46 a.m. at 1921 S. St. Louis Ave., escalated quickly, bringing several more personnel and equipment to the scene, said Chicago Fire Dept. spokesman Larry Merritt.
At 9 a.m., the 34-year-old veteran was on the second floor involved in the firefight when suddenly, he suffered a medical emergency, collapsed and began inhaling a lot of smoke, Merritt said. He lapsed into unconsciousness and at 9:02 a.m., a mayday and 2-11 alarm were called because he was briefly unaccounted for, Merritt said.
“He went down’’ Merritt said. “He took in a lot of smoke, but we’re still trying to figure out what happened,’’ said Merritt.
After finding him, crews carried him to a waiting ambulance, which rushed him to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was checked out. He was then transferred to Stroger Hospital, where he was listed in serious to critical condition.
Saturday afternoon, his condition had stabilized, but he was expected to remain at Stroger for the next couple of days, said Merritt.
A second firefighter who suffered a shoulder laceration was taken to Mount Sinai and he was expected to be released later Saturday.
No one else was hurt in the blaze, which did not appear suspicious. Four adults were displaced Merritt said.
Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke briefly to the media outside Stroger after visiting the man and his family. The 34-year-old firefighter works out of Engine Company 109, Truck 32, in the city’s Little Village neighborhood.