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Man seriously injured in East Lakeview high-rise fire

Firefighters rescue man from high-rise blaze in East Lakeview
Firefighters rescue man from high-rise blaze in East Lakeview 02:48

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man was in the hospital Friday night after being rescued from a high-rise fire in East Lakeview.

More than 150 first responders responded to the blaze at The Eddystone, at 421 W. Melrose St. at Inner Lake Shore Drive, near Belmont Harbor.

The blaze broke out around 5:30 p.m. in unit 14C.

As CBS 2's Sara Machi reported, it could have been immensely worse. The injured man lived in a two-story duplex – a large unit that allowed the fire to take over a great deal of space.

The Fire Department said the man was in serious-to-critical condition as he was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Firefighters made a dramatic rescue down more than a dozen flights of stairs.

But even before they arrived, neighbors tried to step in.

We talked with one man, who didn't want to be on camera, but told us about his own escape - which began after he first saw smoke threw his window in unit 21C.

That man told he pounded on doors as he tried to leave the building. He said he ran into a woman on the 14th floor, but she didn't want to leave her husband behind.

The resident said he believes the woman's husband was the man who was taken away by ambulance.

"Without their bravery and tenacity that they showed at this fire, it could have been a lot worse," said Deputy Fire Chief Shun T. Haynes.

Firefighters broke windows – with glass shattering on the ground below. Water shot throw the open air, and people escaped with their pets by their side.

Residents told us the windows with the most smoke damage are kitchen widows.


"So in high-rise fires, the last thing we want to do is break out windows," Haynes said. "However, in order for the members to what we call advance to the seed of the fire' – that's going to be the original; the origin of the fire - we have to give some form of ventilation."

Neighbor Jason Ulman came outside his own high-rise home as more than a 150 first responders set up outside.

"We have never seen anything like this before," Ulman said. "We just hope everybody is OK."

Ulman said he will now have to examine his own exit strategy.

"It's for sure something we're going to be more conscious of going forward," he said.

The 21-story Eddystone has 77 units and dates back to 1929, according to real estate listings.

Residents of the Eddystone said their walls and floors are concrete - but there is no sprinkler system in this nearly 100-year-old condo building.

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