CHICAGO — Close to 20 people lost their Garfield Park home to fire Saturday morning, but the loss could have been immeasurably worse had firefighters not been able to rescue a man in wheelchair and a child who was sleeping in the basement.
Martinia Martin left her first floor apartment Saturday morning for the store, and when she came back she saw smoke, fire, and firefighters. Even worse, out of the 13 children who were first evacuated from the building’s apartments, her 7-year-old daughter wasn’t with them.
A witness on the scene, Janice Burns said she called the fire department after hearing reports of a fire.
“I told the fire department their is a little girl trapped in there,” Burns said.
Firefighters carried a quadrapalegic man out in his wheelchair before finally finding the 7-year-old sleeping in a downstairs bedroom. She was scared, but otherwise healthy.
CFD Batallion Chief Keith Bozenda was on the scene, and said no one was seriously injured in the fire.
The home is severely damaged and will likely have to come down. People who lived there have been busy not only trying to find a place to stay, but also saving some of their few surviving possessions.
“We’re going to take it one day at a time, that’s all we can do,” Martin said.
The Red Cross and the City are helping people who lived in the house find a place to stay. Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.