Two citizens risked their lives to save a young family from a burning home Thursday morning on the city's Northeast Side.
Sam Wilson and Mark Franklin braved the flames to rescue a 2-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl from a townhome at Oak Grove Townhomes in the 10500 Block of Starcrest at 11:30 a.m.
The mother of the children, who woke up from a nap to find the inferno, also escaped the fire, official said.
Wilson and Franklin, who work at Star Collison next to the townhomes, saw the flames and ran to help.
The men yelled into the unit to check if anyone was inside.
"That's when we heard the scream from the child from the toddler," Wilson said.
Wilson said he ran upstairs toward the scream.
"When I reached the top of the stairs I got down onto the floor, obviously seeing the flames," Wilson said. "A set of flames came up over my head."
Wilson said he found the boy in the upstairs bedroom and carried him outside to safety.
Meanwhile, Franklin, a former fireman, climbed onto the roof to try to extinguish the fire with water from a garden hose.
Firefighters later found the girl underneath a pile of clothing in the same bedroom.
Fire officials said the young victims suffered smoke inhalation and were airlifted to University Hospital.
One of the children was reported to be in critical condition, fire officials said. The condition of the children was not known.
The mother suffered from smoke inhalation and shock.
Arson investigators said they believe the fire was caused by a child playing with a cigarette lighter.
Officials said they found several lighters on a bedroom floor.
Wilson and Franklin said they don't want to be called heroes.
"I feel like a modern person who wants to see a child live," Franklin said.
The townhome had working smoke alarms.
The cost of the damage is estimated at $20,000.
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