CHICAGO (CBS) — Firefighters rescued two teenage sisters from a house fire early Tuesday in west suburban Elgin, after the sisters sent their brothers running out of the home.
Amy and Jeremy Bishop were at work when the fire started on the second floor of a two-family home on the 300 block of Division Street just after midnight Tuesday morning. They lost everything they own in the fire, but their sons and daughters made it out alive.
“I’m grateful my kids are okay. They mean everything to me,” Amy said.
The four Bishop children, ages 12 to 19, were sleeping when the fire started; and the two older sisters sent their 12- and 14-year old brothers downstairs before the sisters became trapped.
“My two daughters went to go back out the house, but the way the boys went the flames were too high,” Jeremy said.
A downstairs neighbor tried to run back in to get to the sisters, but could not get past the flames.
“He tried to get the girls, but I guess the flames were so bad he couldn’t get in,” Amy said.
Firefighters arrived to find the two daughters, ages 16 and 19, hanging out the second floor windows.
“A lot of things go through your head. Of course, the immediate thing is to rescue the people,” Elgin Fire Battalion Chief Terry Bruce said.
One of the girls told her mother she would have jumped just seconds later if firefighters hadn’t rescued her.
“She’s like ‘Fire is my biggest fear. I didn’t want to burn,’” Amy said. “They’re traumatized. My oldest daughter can’t believe that they went through that. They realized how close to death they were.”
Jeremy Bishop said the children were covered and soot, and were injured, but will be okay.
“They were all black, head to toe. My daughter’s got burns on her back. They all got frostbitten on their feet, but they lost some of their pets,” he said.
All four children were taken to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital to be treated for minor burns and frostbite. The family’s dog and talking parrot were killed in the blaze.
A family of six who lived on the first floor got out safely.
The Elgin Fire Department said the blaze appeared to be started by a wall-mounted electric heater in the parents’ bedroom.
“Everything was in that house. It’s all gone,” Amy Bishop said. “It’s horrible, I don’t know what to do right before Christmas.”
Amy Bishop said her children told her the smoke detectors in their apartment did not go off. The landlord said the home is up to code, and passed an inspection earlier this year.