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THE NATION

6 killed in blaze, including 3 children

Some residents leap from windows to flee the apartment fire.

May 16, 2011|Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Flames swept through a three-floor apartment building in Illinois early Sunday, killing six, injuring 12 and forcing some residents to leap from their windows to escape, authorities said.

One person escaped by climbing hand over hand along a cable before dropping to the ground. Firefighters rescued at least five people from the building in Aurora, about 40 miles west of Chicago, authorities said.

A 2-year-old girl was in critical condition at Loyola University Medical Center's burn unit.

Aurora officials said as many as 35 people lived in the building.

Teodoro Marcos, 12, escaped, but four members of his family died, relatives said. He remained hospitalized for smoke inhalation, relatives and friends said.

He has been told that his family is dead, said Alicia Velazquez, Teodoro's step-aunt.

"The boy is silent," she said. "He doesn't understand what has happened."

Killed in the fire that started about 4 a.m. were the boy's father, Francisco Marcos; Teodoro's mother, Micaela Perez; and the couple's other children, Jose Francisco, 8 or 9, and Francisco Jr., 6, family members and friends said.

Authorities declined to release the identities of the victims and would say only that those killed were two women and a man -- believed to be in their 30s and 40s -- and three boys, ages 9, 6 and 8 months.

After igniting in a first-floor apartment, the blaze spread to a common hall and moved to the upper floors, trapping some victims, authorities said. The cause was under investigation.

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