Arson may be to blame in South Shore fire that injured 6

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Fire Department says a major fire that injured several people was no accident. Building residents claim this may be a case of revenge.

Fames erupted at an apartment building at 79th Street and Phillips Avenue in South Shore about 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Six people, including two children and a firefighter, were rushed to hospitals. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, but one of the children is listed in serious condition from smoke inhalation. The firefighter is listed in fair condition after being disoriented inside the building, and that triggered a brief mayday call. Twenty-four other people were rescued as they hung out of windows, calling for help.

The fire is believed to have started in a second-floor apartment of the three-story building. Residents said they heard arguing, and saw a smaller fire, before the big flames.

"There was a fire in front of somebody's apartment," building resident Fred Smith said. "Then they put it out and it started right back. We don't really know what happened but that's what we heard."

The McDonald's across the street shut down to serve as a temporary shelter and triage center. The Red Cross set up a reception center at Rainbow Beach Park, 3111 E. 77th St.

Fire officials said the first 911 call came from a woman who was awakened by a smoke detector.

Last month, 10 children were killed in another apartment fire in the city.


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