Chicago police, firefighters and paramedics responded about 4:00 a.m. Sunday August 26, 2018 to 2224 South Sacramento Boulevard when a neighbor, arriving home from work, saw smoke and called 911. Firefighters arrived to find multiple buildings burning, including the rear of a 3-story apartment building. A 2-story apartment building was on fire, and a coach house and two garages were on fire. Six fire victims were killed in the second floor of the coach house.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) August 26, 2018
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) August 26, 2018
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) August 26, 2018
6 children, 2 adults killed in Little Village fire, police say https://t.co/UUcVqRed5P
— WGN TV News (@WGNNews) August 26, 2018
According to Chicago Fire Media Affairs and Chicago police, the fire started in a coach house behind a three-story apartment building about 4 a.m. Six children and two adults were killed, and fire officials say many of the victims were already dead when they arrived. One of the six children killed in the fire was an infant.
A teen and an adult were transported to Stroger Hospital, where they were listed in very critical condition. A firefighter was also injured and transported to a hospital, where the firefighter was listed in good condition.
“The person who came and made the initial call also started knocking on doors and telling people there was a fire, so they basically started to self-evacuate as the fire companies got on the scene. So the female who did that saved a lot of lives.”
— Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago
Surviving family members said there was a sleepover on Saturday night, and that the deceased are from at least two families.
The fire scene occurred in the Little Village neighborhood on Chicago’s middle Southwest Side, less than a mile from Cinespace Chicago Film Studios where some scenes from NBC’s Chicago Fire are filmed. Chicago Fire Department officials said the Little Village Neighborhood fire is possibly the worst fire tragedy in many decades in the city.
The fire department response was elevated to a Still and Box Alarm at 4:05 a.m. and a 2-11 Alarm at 4:15 a.m.
The fire department also activated EMS plans, which in total dispatched about 15 ambulances to the scene.
An EMS Plan 1 was activated at 4:13 am on orders of 4-5-7.
An EMS Plan 2 was activated at 4:23 am.
An EMS Plan 3 was activated at 4:26 am.
The EMS Plan 3 was secured at 4:57 a.m. and the 2-11 Alarm was struck out at 5:01 a.m. after the main body of fire was declared out by 4:36 a.m.
The rear coach house building where the fire victims died had a history of failed electrical receptacles with power being fed by extension cords from the front building. According to the Building Department website available from the City of Chicago, the buildings at the address failed the most recent inspection on June 8, 2018 because of electrical violations.
Violations recorded on June 8, 2018 included a report that a tenant experienced a shock at the tub faucett (sic) in the basement unit; and that there was an extension cord at the rear exterior of the front building feeding the rear building (described as DANGEROUS AND HAZARDOUS).
Violations dating back to September 2007 included …
pigeons nesting in front building 9/13/2007;
deteriorated windows, broken windows 9/13/2007;
severe water leak damage to 3rd floor apartment with damage ceiling plaster 8/27/2008;
all units missing carbon monoxide detectors in front building 8/27/2008;
extension cords from outlet on 2nd floor rear porch through window of 2nd floor apartment 8/27/2008;
unused openings in junction box for outlet on 2nd floor of rear porch 8/27/2008;
an unsecured cable from switch to light fixture on 1st floor rear porch 8/27/2008;
the front building, rear porch full of junk and debris 8/27/2008;
windows missing putty front building 8/27/2008;
rotting frames of windows 8/27/2008;
the front building, rear porch exit blocked with household material 8/27/2008;
no management sign posted 07/27/2009;
pigeons nesting in front building 07/27/2009;
window problems 07/27/2009;
a bedbug complaint 8/5/2015;
a exposed wiring at basement hallway 01/26/2017;
a defective light fixture 01/26/2017;
a broken, inoperable, painted over receptacles throughout basement unit 01/26/2017; and
a defective circuit breaker for basement 01/26/2017.
Chicago fire officials are investigating.
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