Updated 08/23/16 – 5:25 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Three children and a man were killed a in an extra-alarm fire early Tuesday in the South Chicago neighborhood, and police said a “person of interest” was being questioned about the blaze, which officials say appeared suspicious.
The fire started around 1:40 a.m. in a three-story apartment building in the 8100 block of South Essex Avenue.
One witness said he tried to get his own ladder to help people trapped on the third floor, but before he knew it, a man jumped from a window with a baby in his arms.
“To see what I saw and the people leaping in the flames, I could never forget it,” witness Byron West said.
Authorities later confirmed a 3-month-old girl was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, and was pronounced dead.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze at around 4:30 a.m., and Fire Department Deputy Commissioner Arriel Gray said firefighters found the bodies of two girls and a man hours later during a search of the building once it was safe to go inside. All three were found on the third floor of the building. The girls were found in one apartment, but not together, and the man was found in an adjacent apartment.
Relatives said the the three children who died were sisters; 3-month-old Melanie Watson, 4-year-old Madison Watson, and 7-year-old Shaniya Staples.