Seven firefighters were injured, one of them critically, in an extra-alarm fire Friday morning in Bridgeport on the South Side, according to police.
Crews responded to the blaze about 6:50 a.m. at a home in the 2700 block of South Lowe Avenue, Chicago police and fire officials said.
At least one firefighter jumped from the building to escape the flames, and a mayday call was issued. But all firefighters were accounted for, officials said.
One firefighter was taken to a hospital in critical condition from burns and smoke inhalation, police said. Six others suffered minor injuries and were hospitalized in good condition.
A 77-year-old man was able to escape the inferno with his two dogs without injuries, police said.
Firefighters couldn’t go inside the building because of a lack of “structural integrity,” a fire official said at the scene.
Aerial footage from WGN-TV showed a firefighter leap from the roof of the house to a second-story porch on the building next door, as flames billowed out of the back of the house. It wasn’t clear if that was the firefighter who was hospitalized in critical condition.
“They’re gonna be OK,” the fire official said of the injured. Crews began clearing the scene shortly before noon.
Four hours after the blaze started, smoke was still pouring out of the front windows of the house, which is set back on the lot on the west side of Lowe Avenue.
A woman who lives a block south of the scene said she heard fire trucks barreling down the block about 7 a.m. The elderly man who escaped the flames lives alone with his dogs and mostly stayed on the first floor of the building, according to the neighbor who asked not to be named.
The man didn’t need medical attention. He was taken to a warming center where he met relatives, the neighbor said. His dogs are OK, too.
But the scorched home is a lost cause, one firefighter at the scene said. Crews continued blasting all sides of the house with water in the frigid cold. The north wall of the house was almost completely toppled, along with the front entrance and windows.
Water and natural gas service was shut off for homes on the block, a routine precaution taken by firefighters when battling a serious fire. With wind chills hovering in the single digits, it was expected to be shut off for a few hours, neighbors said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.