The 7-year-old son of a Chicago firefighter has died from injuries sustained in a house fire that also injured his two young sisters and their mother.
Ezra Stewart was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, a day after he was taken to Loyola University Medical Center with smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Ezra, his two sisters, 2 and 7, and their mother were pulled from the bedrooms of their burning home in the 2500 block of North Rutherford Avenue around 9 p.m. Tuesday and were hospitalized in critical condition, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
Ezra’s father, who was on duty at the time, rushed to the Northwest Side home and performed CPR on his 34-year-old wife, according to fire officials. The firefighter was not working with the crew that responded to the home, but was driven there by a department member, CFD spokesman Larry Langford said.
The cause of the fire remained unclear, but investigators know it started in the kitchen and spread throughout the home, Langford said. Smoke alarms in the house worked, he added.
The day after the fire, contractors folded up broken windows and a door on the home’s porch, where an empty pram stood. Neighbors passed by and told reporters about the quiet working-class family who have lived in the home for several years.
“We’re praying for them,” Carlos Gomez said as he walked his dog. He said he saw firefighters remove children from the home and perform CPR.
Justin Castrejon said he lives across the street and helped the family’s mother last fall after she locked her keys in the car. “She said, ‘Thank you very much,'” he said. “They were pretty quiet. I just feel bad.”
Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) visited the victims’ homes on Wednesday morning. He said firefighters would search the block and send out smoke alarms with 10-year battery life.
Villegas said he recently met the family while on his way to an election. “They are a working class family. The family was just your typical Chicago family in the bungalow belt. They keep to themselves, he said.
Neighbor Julisa Miranda said she was shocked by the fire. “I’ve never seen so many firefighters,” she said. After this I thought, ‘Am I prepared?’ I’m not.”