LYONS, Ill. (CBS) – A mother and her 2-year-old daughter were among 11 people who have police and firefighters to thank for helping them get to safety, after a fire at an apartment building in west suburban Lyons early Monday.
The fire started in a basement apartment at a six-unit building in the 4500 block of Prescott Avenue in Lyons. Lyons Police Cmdr. Brian Kuratko said around 12:20 a.m., a police officer on patrol spotted smoke and flames from the fire, so he called the police and fire departments, then ran inside the building.
When firefighters and other police officers arrived, they saw flames shooting out of the basement, and spreading to the floors above. Crews immediately went inside to search for people.
Mary Jones was sleeping when she heard Officer Charlie Wright banging on her door, and yelling for her to get out. She and her 2-year-old daughter woke up to an apartment filled with smoke.
“Just like foggy. I covered her face once we went by the door, when I saw there was a lot of smoke. It was blackish, smelled really bad,” she said. “I went back to the window, and the police told me to bust the window open, and then drop my daughter down, and then I would have to come down after that.”
Police officers outside told Jones to drop Akayla into their arms, but she was having trouble opening the window.
“Then the police officer was like, ‘Just push it, just try to push it.’ So I just forced it open, and then I dropped Akayla down first,” Jones said. “She was scared, too. She didn’t want to really go with them.”
Two police officers Akayla in their arms. Jones jumped next. Both escaped unharmed, but paramedics rushed Wright to the hospital.
Wright also was able to get a man and his child out of the building when he found them in the hallway, but was overcome by smoke inhalation, and taken to a local hospital for treatment.
“It’s second nature. You see something like that, and you act upon it,” Lyons Police Chief Schinker said. “Charlie’s fine, he was treated for smoke inhalation last night. He went home this morning, and resting peacefully.”
Jones said she wanted to thank Wright for helping her and Akayla.
“I’m just grateful that the police was there, and they were able to bang on my window, and wake me and my daughter up, because if not, I wouldn’t have heard anything. I was asleep,” Jones said.
Some residents managed to get out on their own, while police and firefighters helped get others out of the building.
“I noticed the smoke detectors going off first. I was awake, and I looked through the back door. It was too smoky to go down, so I went through the front door, and I got out as soon as possible,” Jacqueline Dixon said.
In all, 11 people got out of the building safely.
The officer who was injured was expected to make a full recovery. He has been on the force for 30 years.
“We’re real proud of what he did,” Kuratko said. “We got very lucky here. This building went up very fast.”
No one else was injured in the fire. The rescued residents were receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.
Jones and her daughter were staying at a hotel Monday morning. They’re not sure if they’ll be able to move back into their apartment.
The cause of the fire was under investigation Monday morning, but it appeared to have been an accident.