Police: Arson ruled out as cause of fire that displaced 9 in Chatham

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Crews secure the scene of an extra-alarm fire that left nine people displaced early Sunday in Chatham. / photo from Network Video Productions

Investigators ruled out arson as the cause of an extra-alarm fire that displaced nine people early Sunday from a Chatham neighborhood apartment building on the South Side, police said.

Heavy flames were showing from the back stairwell and top floor of the 11-unit building when crews responded at 2:38 a.m. in the 9000 block of South Cottage Grove in Chatham, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Juan Hernandez said.

Firefighters used ladders to rescue nine people from the third floor of the building before the blaze was extinguished at 3:51 a.m., Hernandez said.

Three people were taken in good condition to Trinity Hospital with smoke inhalation. Nine people in all were displaced and are being assisted by the city’s Department of Family and Support Services, officials said.

The cause of the fire, which was thought to have started in the back stairwell, was initially deemed “suspicious” because of the way it had spread, officials said.

But the police Bomb and Arson Unit found no evidence of accelarants used to start the fire, police said Sunday afternoon.

Hernandez said a cause had not been determined Sunday afternoon.

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