By Mike Puccinelli

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly two dozen people rushed out of their apartments early Friday as fire spread through their building in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The fire started around 3:15 a.m. at a three-flat near Kedzie and Augusta. Flames quickly spread to two neighboring buildings.

Juan Brito was in his apartment with his wife and two children when they awoke to the smell of smoke, and immediately ran for their lives, rushing down three smoke-filled flights of stairs.

“The back porch and the back door started catching on fire, and the back window exploded. So we just had to grab the kids and run through the front door, which at the time I thought was on fire also, because there was just so much smoke, my eyes were on fire, my throat was burning,” he said.

For the Britos, Friday morning’s blaze it was especially emotional, because in May, two boys who were relatives did not survive when their home caught fire.

“We just lost two babies in our family from a fire. All you can do is grab your kids and run out. We couldn’t see anything. The stairs were all full of smoke,” Brito said. “I left everything. It didn’t matter at the time. I was just worried about my son, and that’s it. Just get out, and make sure everybody got out of the building.”

The 2-11 alarm blaze brought in more than half a dozen fire trucks. Firefighters weren’t able to fit aerial ladder trucks in the alley behind the building, so they used handheld lines to attack the fire, which appeared to have started on the rear porches.

Three people were injured, and taken to the hospital, where they were stabilized. A firefighter also went to the hospital after suffering nausea. A dog did not survive the blaze.

At least 20 people were displaced by the fire.

Mike Puccinelli