Updated 01/05/12 – 5 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago firefighters took a toddler to the hospital Thursday morning after three Good Samaritans found the boy wandering on the street with no coat or shoes, after apparently wandering away from home. He was later returned to his family.
Fire Department Capt. Michael Smandra, with Engine Co. 38, said a group of people who live near the firehouse on the 3900 block of West 16th Street brought the boy in around 10 a.m.
“They found him wandering down Pulaski, right on Pulaski at 18th. So they brought him to the firehouse to get him checked out,” Smandra said. “He had his regular clothes on and socks; no coat, no shoes.”
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In a phone interview, the boy’s aunt told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot that her nephew somehow twisted the doorknob and walked right out of the house.
Three Good Samaritans spotted the boy wandering on busy Pulaski Road, so they got him off the street and tried to find his parents.
“At first, the baby almost got hit by a car,” said Desmond Hill, one of the three Good Samaritans who came to the aid of the toddler. “But … one of the boys from down there on 15th, came and got the baby out the street.”
Hill and others used their phones to take pictures of the child.
“He was in between one to, maybe going on two years old,” Mahogany Hill said. “When you asked him what’s his mommy’s name, he couldn’t say anything. But he could say cheese when he got ready to take the picture.”
After finding the boy, the Good Samaritans went door to door with the photos for about an hour and a half, hoping to find his relatives.
“I gave him one of my son’s coats and my sister gave him a pair of shoes and we took him to the Fire Department,” Desmond Hill said.
“I was happy that the neighbors brought him in. … It was a good group. They did the right thing,” Smandra said. “He loved it. He was having a good time here. He had some cookies and fruit and I think he really liked the firehouse.”
While the toddler enjoyed some treats, his aunt was taken to the firehouse by police after neighbors told her the boy had been taken there.
“The aunt said that he just wandered out of the house. They didn’t even realize that he was gone,” Smandra said.
The boy was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital to be checked out, and a spokeswoman said he was later released to his family.
Smandra said the boy was in great shape and in good spirits.
Police said their investigation was ongoing. It was unclear if anyone in the boy’s family would face criminal charges. There’s no word as to whether the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is going to be investigating this case.