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Child escapes South Side fire by jumping onto mattress from 3rd-floor apartment; 2 siblings rescued

No adult was home at the time of the fire.

Crews board up windows Thursday morning at an apartment in the 6100 block of South Wabash Avenue after it caught fire overnight in Washington Park.
Crews board up windows Thursday morning at an apartment in the 6100 block of South Wabash Avenue after was damaged by fire overnight in Washington Park.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

With her Washington Park apartment ablaze behind her, an 8-year-girl jumped from a third-floor window onto a mattress to cushion her landing Wednesday night.

Firefighters soon entered the home by ladder and rescued her younger brothers, ages 2 and 5, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

The Fire Department initially told reporters that the girl threw the mattress out of the window herself but corrected the narrative Thursday evening, saying that a neighbor actually laid it out.

The three children were treated for smoke inhalation at Comer Children’s Hospital, where by Thursday morning they had been upgraded from serious to good condition, Fire Department spokesman Frank Velez said.

The older sister who jumped also injured an ankle, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

No adults were home at the time the fire broke out in the 6100 block of South Wabash Avenue.

The mother of the children was located later in the morning, according to Chicago police spokeswoman Sally Bown. No charges had been filed as of Thursday evening.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is investigating allegations of neglect, according to DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey.

A mattress lies on the ground Thursday morning outside an apartment building in the 6100 block of South Wabash Avenue after a unit caught fire overnight in Washington Park.
A mattress lies on the ground Thursday morning outside an apartment building in the 6100 block of South Wabash Avenue after a unit caught fire overnight in Washington Park.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The fire broke out shortly before midnight Wednesday in the apartment’s kitchen, but the cause remained under investigation, Velez said, adding there were no indications the fire was set intentionally.

The blaze was contained to one unit, Velez said. The 12-unit apartment complex was partially evacuated, and residents took shelter in a warming bus, he said. There were no other injuries or displacements, Velez said.

Firefighters found the stove on when they entered the apartment, Langford said.

About 20 Fire Department vehicles and nearly 40 firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, he said.

The department initially had provided different ages for the children.