Four firefighters were injured during a blaze on Chicago’s West Side that prompted the use of a Mayday distress signal Sunday afternoon, fire officials confirmed.
The fire occurred at a two-story home in the 4900 block of W. Potomac in the Austin neighborhood around 12 p.m., according to the Chicago Fire Department.
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Five ambulances were sent to the scene, and all companies were accounted for just before 12:30 p.m., Fire Media Affairs tweeted. The fire was extinguished as of 12:37 p.m., officials said.
Fire Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department Jose Santiago confirmed that four firefighters were engaged in a search-and-rescue mission when they were injured, Santiago said.
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“They found that the cause of the fire was on the second floor near the rear by the kitchen,” Santiago said. As they made their way closer to the fire, he said they had “problems with the water supply and their hoses.”
A flashover occurred, according to Santiago, who likened it to an explosion.
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“The four firefighters were in dire trouble at that time, to the point where some of them had to jump out of the window,” Santiago said.
The firefighters sustained first- and second-degree burns and were all taken to Stroger Hospital where they were listed in stable condition.
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All four firefighters were “alert, awake, and talking,” according to Santiago, and they were mostly worried about each other.
“They all had their masks on, and that’s why they’re alive right now,” Santiago said.
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Six people were displaced by the fire, including three adults and three children, officials confirmed.
Derita Conley told NBC5 she has lived on the second floor of the two-flat for two years and that she was planning to move, but lost everything in the blaze.
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She and five of her family members, including her newborn grandchild, were able to safely escape the fire, she said. They were getting ready for a family gathering when a neighbor told her to get out.
She was able to save the family dog but her cats went back inside the home, she said. Conley is a cat trainer, and had six cats in the home.
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“I’m just happy we got out but I’m missing my cats,” Conley said. “I had them since they were babies, hoping animal cruelty will help me bury them. We could lost our life up there.”
The investigation is ongoing.
Source: 4 Firefighters Injured in Blaze on Chicago’s West Side | NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/mayday-called-at-fire-on-chicagos-west-side-388780602.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_CHBrand#ixzz4G1ioRCh3