Reporting Susanna Song
UPDATED 09/20/12 5:24 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Firefighters will be handing out free smoke detectors in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, after a fire killed a 2-month-old baby and left 30 people without a home.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the baby, Miracle Hooks, was found dead in her first-floor bedroom in a two-story apartment building at 3114 W. Franklin Blvd. late Wednesday afternoon.
Firefighters say they found smoke detectors on the first and second floors. The smoke detectors did not work, fire officials said Thursday morning.
The fire broke out around 5 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters arrived within two minutes, aggressively battling heavy smoke and flames to get to the baby’s back bedroom.
“All we saw was thick clouds of smoke, and I saw a big ball of fire, and I just kept hollering and hollering,” said neighbor Mark Lee.
But by the time firefighters reached the small girl, it was too late.
“When we find out that someone’s trapped, we give it an extra effort to try and get in there. The amount of heat that the guys were confronted with when they opened the front door, though, was tremendous,” said Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas said.
Lee said he couldn’t see anything except a “pitch black with a big red ball of fire.” He saved his sister and two nephews from the blaze.
In all, the fire displaced 18 adults and 12 children. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is helping out five families.
A firefighter was also taken to a hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation, but was expected to be okay.
Officials said the fire apparently started in an apartment of the two-story building, and spread to other parts of the building. It is believed to be accidental.