CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer rescued a 72-year-old woman by throwing her over his back and carrying her down the stairs during an extra-alarm fire in the Portage Park neighborhood Sunday night, police said.
The blaze left the building destroyed after starting about 8 p.m. in a restaurant on the first floor of a two-story building that has apartments on the second floor, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
Officers called to the blaze at 5601 W. Irving Park Rd. saw smoke coming from an apartment complex also at that address, according to a police report.
Police and firefighters were searching the building to make sure residents were out when officer Terry Abbate and his partner Karl Hervai came across a woman inside one unit who was reluctant to leave, the report said.
Abbate put the victim over his shoulder and proceeded down the stairs and out of the building as smoke filled the stairwell, the report said. She was not injured during the blaze.
The woman lived directly above the restaurant, according to a source, who said she was found after the partners were knocking on doors.
Officers placed the 72-year-old woman in a squad car to keep warm and continued working, making sure no one was inside, and left as the smoke became thick and filled the complex, the report said.
A warming bus was brought to the 4000 block of North Central Avenue and all the displaced were able to take shelter inside it, the report said.
A woman and her 2-year-old son were taken by ambulance to Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center for smoke inhalation injuries that did not appear life-threatening, according to the report and fire officials.
Police said the building was a total loss and everyone who lived there went to stay with relatives. Crews remained at the scene until after 11 p.m. and no firefighters were injured.
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service