A family of 13 is safe following an apartment house fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, and it’s all thanks to a 5-year-old boy who was visiting his aunt (CBS Chicago).
A 5-year-old boy, Jayden Espinoza, was the only person awake in his aunt’s apartment house in the block of 5000 South Marshfield Avenue just before 4:00 a.m. Saturday July 27, 2019 when a fire from outside spread to the back of his aunts apartment house. While he was awake, and while everyone else was sleeping, he noticed a fire.
“I yelled to my auntie there was fire,” Jayden Espinoza said. “I said fire was coming in the kitchen.” His aunt, two sisters and three cousins were able to escape the fire.
Jayden went through fire drills at school and watched video games about exit plans. He knew enough to tell his older sister to stop, drop and roll. He warned his sister to crouch while moving to evacuate from the burning apartment house — a 2 1/2-story wood frame building.
Jayden’s parents Tracey and Kashmir were at their home on the Northwest Side and rushed to the scene to find their children safe, and to learn about Jayden’s heroism.
By 4:08 a.m. firefighters had two hose lines fighting the fire. Engine 123’s crew brought a hose line in the front door. Engine 49’s crew brought a hose line to the rear of the apartment house after using a deck gun on the fire engine in the alley about 4:02 a.m. Firefighters had to go defensive about 4:23 a.m. with Tower Ladder 39’s crew at the front of the building with the aerial platform raised to the roof and upper floor window. The fire was declared out by 4:48 a.m. Extensive overhaul of all three floors was required.
The fire, which seriously damaged the apartment house, displaced 13 people, including six children. Initially no injuries were reported. The fire started in the back, most likely near the garage, and the fire then extended to the back porches.
An initial report by the Chicago Fire Department said the fire was suspected to have started with ignition by a smoking product, such as a cigarette. The outside fire involved a mattress. A Fire Investigator was called to the scene while firefighters were still fighting the fire.
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