Infant Found Dead Following Chicago House Fire

A space heater placed too close to a bed apparently sparked a fire that killed a 2-month-old girl in her home in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side, officials said this morning.

Firefighters said they tried to rescue Miracle Hooks but were beaten back by intense heat and flames late Wednesday afternoon.

"The amount of heat that the guys were confronted with when they opened the front door though was tremendous," Deputy Fire Cmsr. John McNicholas told reporters at the scene in the 3100 block of West Franklin Boulevard. "When we find out that someone's trapped, we give it an extra effort to try to get in there."

Firefighters found Miracle Hooks in a back bedroom, according to Fire Department spokeswoman Meg Ahlheim. A preliminary investigation found that a space heater near a bed caused the fire, officials said.

There were smoke detectors inside the first- and second-floor apartments but they were not working, the Fire Department said.

A man at the scene told NBC-Channel 5 that he tried to vain to rescue the baby girl.

"I would have liked to save that baby," Luther Hooks told the station. "I got a little past the bathroom and that's when the blaze came up. The young lady ran in their first to try to get her baby, and then I heard the crackling of the wood."

The fire also destroyed a home next door.

Amelia Carson said she was able to save her 11-year-old son, who was resting after his first day back at school since the teachers strike.

"He was in the back asleep," Carson told Channel 5. "It took me a little minute to get him up and wake him up, so it took me a little minute to get him out of there."

The fire displaced 30 people, including 12 children, Ahlheim said. Of those, 23 went to a Red Cross shelter set up at the Garfield Park Fieldhouse, 100 N. Central Park Avenue, and 19 of them stayed overnight, said Sarah Echols, a social worker who volunteers with the Red Cross.

A firefighter who was injured taken in good condition to Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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