Fire in a Chicago Apartment Without Smoke Detectors Kills at Least 8 People
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Fire in a Chicago Apartment Without Smoke Detectors Kills at Least 8 People


CHICAGO — August 26, 2018

At least eight people, including six children, were killed early Sunday after a fire broke out in a Chicago apartment without working smoke detectors, fire officials said.

The blaze broke out about 4 a.m. in a three-story apartment building in the 2200 block of South Sacramento Avenue. Flames engulfed at least two buildings, including a coach house.

Denise Mercado, a resident, told that she and her five children woke up when they smelled smoke. She rushed to get her family out of the house.

Narrating the incident Mercado, who spoke in Spanish said, “The flames... it was huge.”

The fire was put out just after 5 am.

A teen and a young adult were transported to Stroger Hospital, where they were declared to be in a very critical condition, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said.

A firefighter was also injured in the fire, the department said. Fortunately, he is in good condition and was taken to the hospital for a thorough check-up.

The scene at the hospital was one of panic and sorrow. A woman was heard crying, “I can’t live without my babies.”

The ages of victimshave not yet been released, though Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said they were from the same residenceand were found on the building’s second floor.

Although it is unclear what caused the fire, investigators discovered that there were no working smoke detectors in the apartment.It is now up to the investigators to find out how the fire occurred and who is to be held accountable for the dysfunctional smoke detectors. Authorities responsible for inspecting the safety of buildings should also be penalized and punished for their callousness. Tragedies such as these can easily be avoided if bodies tasked with maintaining safety do their task honestly. They surely erred this time, and have been caught. They must not go unpunished.

Author: Pradeep Banerjee