CHICAGO (CBS) A man was hospitalized Friday night after being rescued from a high-rise fire in East Lakeview.
More than 150 first responders responded to the fire at The Eddystone, at 421 W. Melrose St. on Inner Lake Shore Drive, near Belmont Harbor.
The fire broke out in unit 14C around 5:30 PM.
As CBS 2’s Sara Machi reported, it could have been a lot worse. The injured man lived in a two-story duplex—a large unit that made the fire take up a lot of space.
The fire department said the man’s condition was serious to critical when he was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Firefighters made a dramatic rescue down more than a dozen flights of stairs.
But even before they arrived, neighbors tried to intervene.
We spoke to a man, who didn’t want to be on camera, but told us about his own escape – which began after he first saw smoke billowing into his window in Unit 21C.
The man said he banged on doors when he tried to leave the building. He said he ran into a woman on the 14th floor, but she didn’t want to leave her husband.
The resident said he believes the woman’s husband was the man who was taken away by ambulance.
“It could have been a lot worse without the courage and tenacity they showed on this fire,” said Deputy Fire Chief Shun T. Haynes.
Firefighters smashed windows – with glass shattering on the ground below. Water shots threw into the open air and people escaped with their pets by their side.
Residents told us that the windows with the most smoke damage are kitchen widows.
“So on high-rise fires, the last thing we want to do is break out windows,” Haynes said. “However, in order for the members to progress to what we call the seed of fire – that will be the original; the origin of the fire – we need to provide some form of ventilation.”
Neighbor Jason Ulman emerged outside his own high-rise as more than 150 first responders lined up outside.
“We’ve never seen anything like it,” Ulman said. “We just hope everyone is okay.”
Ulman said he will now have to examine his own exit strategy.
“It’s definitely something we’ll be more aware of going forward,” he said.
The 21-story Eddystone has 77 units and dates back to 1929, according to real estate listings.
Residents of the Eddystone said their walls and floors are concrete, but there is no sprinkler system in this nearly 100-year-old apartment building.