CHICAGO (AP) — A fast-moving fire at a home on Chicago’s South Side early Thursday left three children dead and more than a dozen people homeless.
Fire officials said the blaze broke out in a bedroom at the back of the Englewood home where the three children were trapped. They were ages 2, 4 and 9.
“I tried to get my babies out, but it was too late,” said Stacey Austin, the children’s father. He and other tenants say the fire was moving too quickly.
WATCH THE FATHER STACEY AUSTIN DISCUSS THE FIRE
“It happened real fast. They tried to go back in and get the other three kids, but the fire was moving so fast,” said Sheila Dorsey, who lived on the second floor of the home. “We were trying to get through the back window but couldn’t do it. It was so much fire.”
Austin, his wife and their seven other children made it out of the home safely, as did Dorsey and other tenants on the second floor.
Two Chicago police officers were treated for minor smoke inhalation. Authorities said 17 people were living in the building, which is now uninhabitable.
Austin said one of his sons may have been playing with a lighter before the fire. The cause is still under investigation.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.