The child was found under debris in a second-floor bedroom of a courtyard building at 11035 S. King Dr., Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
Firefighters "worked feverishly after they were told a child was in there," Langford said. "The apartment was full of a lot of debris — furniture, objects that made it difficult to conduct the search."
Firefighters tried to resuscitate the child but she was pronounced dead at Comer Children’s Hospital, Langford said. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified her as Kailey Curry.
Her mother was gone when the fire broke out, Langford said. She had dropped off her older children at school and was returning home with breakfast when she learned about the fire, he said.
Two adult relatives of the mother were in the home when the fire started and escaped to safety. The home had no working smoke detectors.
Firefighters responded shortly before 8 a.m. to several calls of a heavy fire coming from an apartment and a person possibly trapped inside, Langford said. The Fire Department sent extra personnel in anticipation of a rescue.
"When firefighters got to the scene, they knew the chances of survival were slim because fire was blowing out the windows," he said.
Firefighters made an "aggressive search" and knocked down the fire with hoses, "hoping during the search the child was taken out before."
The fire was extinguished before it could spread to adjacent units, Langford said.
The blaze was caused by electrical cords that became overheated by layers of items, stopping the natural airflow, the Office of Fire Investigation determined. The items began to smolder and eventually ignited flammable objects nearby.