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Child, 3, Dies After Becoming Trapped In Burning Building

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(CBS/STMW) – A 3-year-old child was killed and three other people were injured after an extra-alarm fire on Friday night in Austin on the West Side.

The 2-alarm blaze broke out on a rear porch at a building in the 100 block of North Laramie Avenue about 8 p.m., Fire Media Affairs Chief Larry Langford said. The fire eventually spread to a neighboring home, he added.

Three people were inside one of the homes, and two of them were trapped, Langford said. All three were removed, including a 56-year-old woman and a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old.

One of the children, Jaantwiaon Edwards, was taken to Loretto Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:34 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The boy lived in one of the homes where the fire broke out.

The fire may have been caused by the Ewards trying took cook something. Edward’s brother, Donte Benamon, says the three-year-old started fires twice in the past by trying to make meals by himself.

“All the other times we was putting it out with water,” said Benamon. “He’s always playing on the stove.

“He tried to cook stuff on the stove. I guess he did it a third time. Third time couldn’t nobody stop him. It got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

The other boy and the 56-year-old woman were both taken in critical condition to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, fire officials said. The woman has been upgraded to stable.

The woman’s condition had stabilized Saturday morning, but police said the child was transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he remained in critical condition. Police said the boy is 4 years old.

A female police officer at the scene suffered smoke inhalation and was also taken to West Suburban in good condition, police said.

Responders from the American Red Cross were at the scene to assist 20 residents displaced by the fire.

Among those displaced was Robert Tolliver, 41, who lives with his wife and two kids on the second floor of one of the buildings where the fire occurred.

He said he was doing laundry at a laundromat near South Central Avenue and West Madison Street a few blocks away when he saw smoke coming from the back of the building.

He went to see what was going on and saw fire on the first-floor porch. A young boy was standing outside the building screaming that his younger brother was stuck inside, Tolliver said.

Tolliver said he tried to reach the boy but couldn’t get to him, and that paramedics later removed him from the building.

The police Bomb and Arson Unit ruled Saturday morning the blaze was accidental in nature.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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