A woman was screaming and holding three young children as she ran toward Chicago police officers just after midnight on the West Side. "There's a fire! There's still family inside!" she yelled.
Harrison District police Officer Jason Fong and his partner ran into the burning home in the East Garfield Park neighborhood early on Monday. Two other officers about half a block away also went into the home to make sure no one else was trapped, reports the Chicago Tribune.
"The fire was intense," said Fong, 37, recounting the experience at an early morning news conference Tuesday. "I could feel the flames. It was kind of like burning and irritating our faces. It was very hard to see."
Officer Julio Ruiz, 45, said he was concerned more children could be inside. The first woman's children appeared to be 5, 2, and 1 month old. He chased after an older woman who was trying to run back inside to find relatives.
The officers pushed through thick smoke filling the two flats. They checked under beds, on the porch, and in the basement before running to safety themselves.
The officers were taken to Rush University Medical Center for minor smoke inhalation. The residents of the building were displaced but not injured.