Mayday called after firefighter trapped inside burning building on South Side


A mayday alert was issued after a vacant apartment in the South Side Gresham neighborhood went up in flames Friday morning, temporarily entrapping a Chicago firefighter and multiple squatters.

At 3:15 a.m., an abandoned duplex in the 7800 block of South Sangamon caught on fire after two women lit candles inside, according to Chicago police and the Chicago Fire Department. The women, 38 and 41 years old, woke up to the apartment ablaze.

The mayday was declared when the second floor pancaked onto the first while Chicago firefighters were inside, according to CFD spokesman Larry Langford. One firefighter was stuck in the debris for about a minute, but escaped with no injuries.

The two women were taken in good condition to St. Bernard Hospital for smoke inhalation, authorities said. One had been taking up shelter inside the now-collapsed duplex, while the other lived next door. A 66-year-old man who resided in the vacant building was also displaced by the blaze.

No one was in custody early Friday as CFD investigated the fire.