Two men who died from a three-alarm high-rise fire in the South Shore neighborhood on Tuesday have been identified.
The fire, which began about 8:40 a.m. on the seventh floor of 6730 S. South Shore Dr., sent three people to hospitals in critical condition. Two of those victims died — Jameel Johnson, who was in his 30s; and John Fasula, 50, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Johnson, of the 2300 block of West Jackson Boulevard, was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Hospitals at 9:54 a.m., according to the medical examiner's office. Fasula, of the 3800 block of South Lowe Avenue, was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital at 9:45 a.m.
The other victim was also taken to the University of Chicago Hospitals.
When the fire alarm bells began clanging Tuesday morning, Bridgitti Knox's first thought was to flee her 16th-floor unit.
Knox knew better than to try to take the elevator during the fire. So she headed for the stairwell — only to find it getting smokier and smokier as she made her way down.
"I didn't think I was going to make it out from the smoke," Knox, 55, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Knox was among the lucky ones. The fire was extinguished about 45 minutes after it began.
Knox was in the first-floor lobby thankful that she made it out without injury.
"I walked 16 flights. It was very scary. There was a lot of smoke in the stairway," said Knox, who covered her mouth with her hand on the way down. The smoke was thickest on the seventh, eighth and ninth floors, she said.
On the ninth floor, she heard a voice calling up from below.
"'Is anyone up there?!' I said, 'Yes,' and then he came up, took my hand and pulled me the rest of the way down," Knox said.
Unlike Knox, Christopher and Jewel Brooks remained in their 14th-floor unit until firefighters came to their door.
The couple heard the alarm and hesitated while they tried to figure out whether it was a false alarm. Then they saw smoke in the hallway.
Drawing on training from his job in high-rise construction, Christopher Brooks persuaded his wife to place wet towels in front of the door and open a window while they waited for firefighters in their bedroom. During the 30- to 45-minute wait, Christopher Brooks explained to her what was happening to calm her nerves.
"It was a lot of panic," Jewel Brooks said.
"She trusted me, so that was good," Christopher Brooks said.
-- Sun-Times, Sun-Times Media Wire
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC
CHICAGO (AP) - Firefighters in Chicago are still battling a massive warehouse fire on the city's South Side that officials say is one of the largest fires in recent years.
First Deputy Fire Commissioner Charles Stewart III says frigid temperatures made the fire more difficult to handle. Stewart says the Chicago Transit Authority brought in warming buses so that firefighters could seek relief from the cold. City crews also are working to salt the roads around the building to help deal with a build-up of ice.
More than 170 firefighters responded to the five-alarm blaze at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, and firefighters were still working to extinguish the fire Wednesday morning.
Stewart says one firefighter suffered a minor injury. There's no word yet on what caused the fire.
Copyright © 2013 Associated Press