An 8-year-old girl from Chicago managed to toss a mattress out the window when the fire broke from her family’s third-story, allowing herself to jump onto it to safety.
A fire official on Thursday said that the girl’s mother was at work at the time of the fire.
Chicago fire officials said the blaze was reported just before midnight Wednesday at a large apartment building in the 6100-block of South Wabash Avenue in Washington Park.
Inside the apartment were the 8-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy, and a 4-year-old boy, and the firefighters who arrived at the scene found the girl safe outside.
Firefighters had rescued the two younger children who were still inside, including the girl’s 5-year-old brother, who was about to jump out of the building to follow his sister and a 2-year old boy.
Officials said the 8-year-old girl injured her ankle after the jump, the 5-year-old boy was rescued by ladder, and it was not immediately clear how the 2-year-old escaped.
District Chief Frank Velez expressed how the girl’s quick thinking in a life-or-death situation impressed him, calling her idea “quite innovative.”
“You’d be surprised on what an individual can do when you’re in that sympathetic and parasympathetic stage of fight or flight. … They’re thinking to save themselves one way or another and obviously you have to give a credit to the kid for really thinking of something like that,” said Velez.
“I wouldn’t recommend it, but the fact of the matter is that the kid was quite innovative …”
Police spokesperson Kellie Bartoli said the mother of the three children would not face any charges, explaining that a neighbor was babysitting them.
Velez said the cause of the fire was under investigation, and the three children were brought to Comer Children’s Hospital to be evaluated for smoke inhalation and that their conditions had been stabilized.