CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police sergeant was in critical condition Wednesday morning, after suffering smoke inhalation injuries while trying to rescue a disabled woman who also was severely injured in a house fire in the South Chicago neighborhood.
The fire started around 3 a.m. at a home near 80th and Muskegon. Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said a mother and father in the home heard the smoke detector going off, and tried to get their disabled adult daughter out of the home, but could not reach her.
When the mother and father got outside, they flagged down a group of police officers, who went inside with the father to try and get her out, according to Santiago. A short time later, firefighters arrived and went inside the home, where they found the disabled woman face-down under a pile of debris.
The daughter, who has multiple sclerosis, suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation injuries, and was in critical condition Wednesday morning at the University of Chicago trauma center.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said two police officers and two sergeants who went into the home to help rescue the woman also were taken to the U of C trauma center. While the two officers and one sergeant were later released from the hospital, another sergeant remained in critical condition late Wednesday morning with smoke inhalation injuries.
The superintendent said that sergeant was intubated until his condition improves.
“I ask that all Chicagoans come together and pray for that victim of this fire, and for the sergeant who were among a group of heroes that ran toward the danger for the sake of others,” he said.
Santiago said smoke inhalation often causes heat-related injuries to the throat, because of the temperature of the smoke being inhaled. Johnson said the sergeant’s family is very optimistic he will be able to make a full recovery.
Flames from the fire spread to an adjacent home before the fire was extinguished. The neighboring home was evacuated.
Red Cross workers provided assistance with the displaced residents to try and find them temporary shelter.
Santiago said it appears the fire was caused by smoking inside the home.