(KANKAKEE) Two children and a firefighter were among six people injured when a three-alarm fire broke out at an apartment building in downstate Kankakee early Wednesday, leaving 22 people displaced.
Firefighters responded about 1:45 a.m. to multiple calls of a fire in the two-story building in the 800 block of West Station Street, according to Kankakee Fire Chief Ron Young.
When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy smoke coming from the second floor and “numerous” people hanging out windows, Young said, adding that firefighters immediately went into rescue mode.
Two boys, ages 2 and 4, were burned in the fire and pulled from front windows of the building, Young said. The younger boy was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, while the older boy was airlifted to Comer Children’s Hospital. They were both listed in critical condition.
A 65-year-old woman suffered from smoke inhalation; a 25-year-old man burned his hands and jumped out a window; and a 22-year-old woman also suffered burns to her hands, Young said. They were all taken to local hospitals, where their conditions were stabilized.
A firefighter also suffered minor burns while battling the blaze and was treated at the scene, Young said.
The building had eight units on the second floor and two businesses on the first floor and 22 residents — eight children and 14 adults — were displaced as a result of the fire, Young said. The American Red Cross was called to the scene and assisted at least 16 people with housing.
The blaze was extinguished by 3:15 a.m., Young said. The fire is believed to have started in a rear stairwell of the building, but the cause remains under investigation Wednesday morning.