On the evening of November 6, 2010, fire broke out in the back, second floor bedroom, of this late 1800’s apartment building in Chicago’s old Pilsen neighborhood. In the days after the fire, family members speculated that the cause was a space heater, although a determined cause was never reported.
The result was the tragic death of a father and his young son. The 3-year old was found in the same room as the fire’s origin. The father had run back inside the burning apartment in an attempt to rescue his children and was successful in wrapping his one-year old daughter in a blanket before he succumbed to the smoke. She was found lying next to him and the fact that her head was wrapped in the blanket probably saved her life.
I arrived to see her being rushed to the ambulance but was unaware of what else had happened. The father would die several weeks later. The picture sequence seems out of order but the less smokey images are actually from when I first arrived. The fire eventually made it’s way into the attic and it was brought under control using an exterior attack from Tower Ladder 5, who was running a spare rig that day.
At 1412hrs on Sunday, November 24th, companies on Chicago’s south side were dispatched to a report of a structure fire on the 8000 block of South May Street. Three minutes later, Engine 129 reported they had a fire in the basement of a 30×125, 3.5-story ordinary, occupied apartment building. At 1420hrs, Battalion 18 reported that he had heavy fire in the basement and 1st floor of the building and he called for a Still & Box which is about the same time the first picture shown in this gallery was taken. The fire eventually made its way to the second floor. Besides the apparatus shown in the photos, Engine 54 took a hydrant on Aberdeen Street which is one block to the east and stretched a line through the gangway to sector 3. The box was struck at 1514hrs and the Red Cross was assisting 11 occupants who were displaced by this fire.