Two Chicago Firefighters Killed, 14 Injured After Building Collapsed

Dec 22, 2010

Two Chicago firefighters were killed and more than a dozen injured Wednesday after they became trapped in a building while battling a warehouse blaze.

Rescuers dug frantically to free the two, who were among at least four firefighters trapped inside the building. At least 14 other firefighters were hospitalized with injuries ranging from severe to critical.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the deaths just before 11 a.m. eastern.

As many as six firefighters were going over hot spots and searching the vacant building for homeless people when part of the building gave way and the roof came down, ABC affiliate WLS reported.

"They went up on the ladder, ladder went on down. Next thing you know, they must (have) got onto the top part of the roof, and the roof just caved in," witness Kimberly Lofton told WLS.

The collapsed wall left four firefighters trapped, prompting the fire department to issue a "mayday" call.

Dozens of city firemen descended on the burning rubble to search for their injured comrades. They dug for over an hour, using buckets, their hands and anything they could to dig through the burning debris.

"The RIT [Rapid Intervention Team] company went to work right away. They removed, I couldn't tell you each and every spot, but firefighters were removed from different corners of the building, and they worked hard and they got them out fast," Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff said.



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