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Woman Still Hospitalized After Fireworks Spark Pilsen Blaze

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Firefighters were battling an extra-alarm blaze on the 1300 block of West 18th Street on July 4, 2011. The Fire Department said the fire was sparked by children playing with fireworks. (Credit: CBS)

Firefighters were battling an extra-alarm blaze on the 1300 block of West 18th Street on July 4, 2011. The Fire Department said the fire was sparked by children playing with fireworks. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — An elderly woman is in the hospital Tuesday morning, injured in a fire in the Pilsen neighborhood.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, investigators believe it was sparked by children playing with fireworks.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Police say the children were playing by themselves on the back porch of a three-story building at 1323 W. 18th St. just west of Throop Street. They set the porch on fire.

The flames spread quickly through that building and through two others – at 1319 and 1317 W. 18th St. – before firefighters brought it under control.

An 80-year-old woman was taken to the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center with smoke inhalation, Fire Media Affairs Cmdr. Will Knight said.

Rodolfo Alvarez, owner of the building where the fire started, was looking through the two water damaged rear apartments and wondering how soon he could reopen his hardware store on the first floor.

“This is the way I live, I don’t know anything else,” he said. “I’ve been here 30 years.”

As he spoke, explosions from fireworks nearby echoed down the street.

“I think fireworks are a threat,” he said. “In fact, last night my grandkids were asking me to take them to buy some fireworks.

“I said, ‘Nope, it’s a hazard. We might cause a fire.’ And look, here it is in my own place.”

Police say they do not expect any charges in the case. The fire has been ruled an accident.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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