2 more boys die after West Humboldt Park fire, bringing toll to 3

The fire began in the basement of a house in the 4000 block of West Potomac Avenue early Sunday, officials said.

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Fire and police officials work the scene where three children were killed in a fire early Sunday on the Northwest Side.

Fire and police officials work the scene where three children were killed in a fire early Sunday on the Northwest Side.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Three children have died and another remains in critical condition following a basement fire in West Humboldt Park early Sunday, according to officials.

The fire began about 12:20 a.m. in the basement of a house at 4032 W. Potomac Ave. on the Northwest Side, fire officials said. Four children and two adults were taken to hospitals.

Axel Cruz, 4, was pronounced dead at Saints Mary and Elisabeth Medical Center, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

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Two more boys, 6-year-old Jayden Cruz and 11-year-old Angel Rodriguez, were hospitalized initially in critical condition but later died, the medical examiner’s office said.

A fourth boy remains in critical condition.

The children all suffered from smoke inhalation, according to police.

Two adults were also injured in the blaze, police said. A 40-year-old woman was taken to West Suburban Hospital with minor smoke inhalation, officials said. She was listed in good condition.

A man, 35, was taken to St. Mary’s with minor smoke inhalation and was in good condition, police said.

Preliminary indications point to the fire being accidental. Area Five as well as arson detectives were sent to the scene.

A neighbor who lived across the street told the Sun-Times she had seen the children just hours earlier. She broke down in tears as she overheard a fire official say that it “wasn’t looking too good” for at least one of them.

Contributing: Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere

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