2 Chicago firefighters hurt after mayday call

Firefighters tried to carry a large hose to the third floor when a staircase couldn’t handle their weight, according to officials


Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Two Chicago firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries Wednesday after a staircase collapsed as they battled an extra-alarm fire at a West Rogers Park apartment building, authorities said.

A mayday response, which signals a firefighter has become trapped or lost in a fire, was called for a blaze in a 3-story brick apartment building in the 6100 block of North Hoyne Avenue, according to Chicago Fire Department officials.

Two Chicago firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries Wednesday after a staircase collapsed as they battled an extra-alarm fire. (Photo/CFD)
Two Chicago firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries Wednesday after a staircase collapsed as they battled an extra-alarm fire. (Photo/CFD)

Firefighters responded to a call about the fire just before 5 p.m. and learned from people on the scene that the fire started on the roof, where there was work being done, said fire department spokesman Larry Langford.

Five firefighters tried to carry a large hose to the third floor when a staircase couldn’t handle their weight, said Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Tim Sampey.

“There was no indication that it would collapse in those early stages of the fire, but it did collapse,” he said. “Between themselves, the weight of the equipment and the weight of the water in the hose, that added to ... the subsequent collapse.”

Two of the firefighters on the stairs made it onto a landing before the structure crumbled, Sampey said. Two firefighters fell and landed in the debris of the staircase while another hit the walls on his way down and landed on top of the rubble.

The fire was declared out by about 6 p.m., according to the department.

Jenni Hartman, 33, said she arrived home from work about 4:45 p.m. and saw neighbors standing outside and pointing at smoke on her building's roof. She ran inside to grab her two Bichon Frise dogs, Izzie and Sasha. As she was gathering the dogs, she heard the roofers running to all the condos and banging on the door to make sure everyone was out.

"The smoke detectors hadn't gone off yet," she said.

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