(CBS) — Eight children, ranging in age from 3 months to 16 years old, died in a fire overnight in the 2200 block of South Sacramento in the Little Village neighborhood.
All the victims were found on the second floor. Family members said some of the children were at the apartment for a sleepover. Two others, one adult and one child, were taken to the hospital in very critical condition, suffering from smoke inhalation, according to Chicago police.
Family members identified the victims as: Maya Almaraz, 3 months; Ariel Garcia, 5 years old; Lonni Ayala, 3 years old; Gialonni Ayala, 5 years old; Xavier Contreras, 11 years old; Nathan Contreras, 13 years old; Giovanni Ayala, 10 years old and Victor Mendoza, 16 years old.
“We have not had this in many, many, many years,” said Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago. ‘This is a very tragic incident.”
The blaze ignited just before 4 a.m. on the second floor of a building on South Sacramento Avenue, according to Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago.
The fire began in the rear of the building, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. The exit to the front of the building was clear, “but without working smoke detectors the occupants were not awakened in time to get to safety,” according to the mayor’s statement.
Volunteers with the Red Cross were on the scene Sunday morning, assisting other residents who were displaced by the fire.
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