CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police officers responding to a report of a gunshot victim in Lincoln Park Monday ended up rushing into a fire in an apartment building – before firefighters could arrive.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, fire investigators were sifting through a charred top-floor unit in the seven-story building at 420 W. Wrightwood Ave., while police stood guard to the entrances outside. Meanwhile, residents sat on the curb in disbelief – some of them barefoot.READ MORE: Judge Bars Chicago Police Union President John Catanzara From Encouraging Officers To Defy City's Vaccine Mandate
“I hear a loud, ‘Bang! Bang! Bang! Everybody get out!’” said neighbor Anthony Soltero.
“I hear the police say, ‘It’s a fire in the building,’” said building resident Jairol Abarca. “Everyone needed to evacuate.”
But before Abarca saw officers running into the building, he noticed police originally in the alley right below his balcony – tending to a man who was bleeding.
“I see a guy on the floor – really, really bad – the police tried to give him CPR,” he said.
Officers were first on the scene after someone reported the man on the ground – possibly shot. The 31-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
While the officers were trying to help that man, the fire broke out right above them.
Neighbors said police were first in the building.READ MORE: Boy, 16, Critically Wounded In East Garfield Park Shooting
“There was officers on the stairwells, the fire escapes; they were banging on the doors,” Soltero said. “I mean, this was a quickness. This was quick.”
The officers were determined to alert everyone of the danger.
“Police officers tried to carry all the people out of the building,” Abarca said.
Once officers helped Abarca out of the building, he then recorded the thick smoke from which he had just escaped.
Four officers were taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.
Late Monday, police and fire investigators were trying to determine if the man in the alley and the fire in the apartment above were connected. The fire is now also being investigated as an arson.
“This was very scary,” Soltero said. “Very scary.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Chilly Tonight, Sunny And Cool Weekend
Everyone escaped the apartment building fire without injuries. The officers who were treated for smoke inhalation are expected to recover.