RICHTON PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Five people were rushed to the hospital Wednesday afternoon after fire and smoke swept through an apartment building in south suburban Richton Park.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reported, the fire broke out at the Park Towers Apartment Homes building, at 3905 Tower Dr. in Richton Park.

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Richton Park Deputy Fire Chief Paul Hodges said five people were taken to the hospital. One was seriously injured after jumping from the fourth floor, he said.

Three others had smoke inhalation, and one firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion.

The flames erupted on the fourth floor.

Thick black smoke poured out of apartments on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors of the apartment building. Three apartments were seen completely burned out.

Chopper 2 caught video of four people getting fresh air on a balcony nearby. A firefighter was seen talking with them and making sure they were OK.
Several apartments were clearly a total loss. Chopper 2 also showed a firefighter out on a balcony appearing to adjust his gear and then going back inside one of the burned-out apartments.

Other residents were gathered on another balcony, apparently waiting for the all-clear.

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But not everyone had a safe place. Chopper 2 captured video of one woman escaping a sixth-floor apartment by climbing down a ladder, and it took minutes for her to make her descent carefully with the help of a firefighter.

Richton Park Fire Rescue

A woman is rescued from a fire at the Park Towers Apartment Homes in Richton Park on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. (Credit: CBS 2)

Once the woman reached the ground, she needed to take a few moments. The firefighter gave her some time, and then consoled her with a hug.

Minutes later, a firefighter was seen on a stretcher.

A man was also rescued from the upper floors using a ladder.

Following the power, ComEd had no power to the 90-unit building and it had to be evacuated, Hodges said.

Arson investigators were on the scene late Wednesday afternoon after the fire was out.

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The fire remained under investigation Wednesday evening.

Suzanne Le Mignot