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Belmont Cragin Fire Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Fighting For Life, Many Displaced

CHICAGO (CBS) -- One person is dead, and another was fighting for life late Sunday, after a fire tore through an apartment complex in the Belmont Cragin community.

As CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported, several families were also displaced – just a week before Christmas.

As far as how the fire at 5153 W. Grand Ave. happened, Parra is told we may never find out. The Chicago Fire Department said investigators will not go in, because the building is too unstable.

"It's just hard to believe that this is what we used to call our home, and now we don't have anything," said building resident Julissa Duran, 19.

What was home to several families is now a total loss.

"Ny little baby was sleeping, so I had to just grab him and wrap him in anything we could find and run out the door," said resident Tamanique Porter.

It was just before 8 p.m. Saturday when the first flames began to spread across the building. At the time, Porter had nothing on but a bathrobe.

"Someone had new pants and I don't even know who gave them to me, but they gave me these so I wouldn't freeze," she said.

Their neighbor – Venacio Delfino, 81 – died in the fire.

"I didn't know him personally, but we'd see him throw out the trash," said Duran. "He'd sometimes shovel the snow."

This comes just two days after another fire a mile and a half away at 3138 N. Marmora Ave., also in the Belmont Cragin area. In that fire, one person died and another three were left in critical condition – including a firefighter.

Now, as yet another person from this latest fire fights for their life, the families who live in the Grand Avenue building are left to figure out what's next.

"Everything from over there is gone - it's gone," said Duran.

"It's sad to even think about Christmas, because I was just trying to make it till this morning," added Porter.

Chicago firefighters gave out smoke detectors earlier in the morning on the block where the fire happened – in a typical move after a major fire.

We are told that there have been no changes to the status of any of the victims in either Belmont Cragin fire – including the firefighter, who remained in critical condition late Sunday.

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