3-Month-Old Baby Dies In Chicago Fire

A 3-month-old baby was killed in a fire that engulfed a two-flat apartment building in Chicago Heights Saturday night, but her mother was saved from the blaze when she was rescued by a police officer.

The baby girl was identified as Crystal Garcia, of 22 E. 24th St. in Chicago Heights, according to a Cook County medical examiner's office spokesman.

The fire started at about 6:30 p.m. at the 24th Street address. It began in a second floor apartment that housed a family of four, officials said.

At the time of the fire, however, only a woman, a baby, and a 2-year-old child were in the apartment, he said. The woman's husband was at work at the time, according to the sergeant.

A South Chicago Heights police officer was driving nearby when he saw smoke and flames coming from the building, he said. The officer alerted the fire department and went to the burning building, the sergeant said.

As the officer walked in through the front door into the building's foyer, he saw a neighbor standing in the hallway with a 2-year-old child, the sergeant said. The neighbor told the officer that there was still a woman and her 1-month-old baby in the burning apartment, he said.

The police officer ran up the stairs and into the burning apartment to look for the victims, he said. He found the woman and got her out of the building, the sergeant said.

He ran back into the burning building to look for the baby, but by then, the apartment was completely engulfed in flames, according to the sergeant.

Firefighters later found the baby dead, he said, but pronouncement of death information was not immediately available for Garcia Saturday night, according to the medical examiner's office spokesman.

The woman and the police officer were taken in good condition to St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Chicago Heights, the sergeant said. They were reported to be OK and were taken only as a precaution.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

City News Services contributed to this report.

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