‘There Was Nothing But Smoke:’ 1 Man Dead, 1 Critically Injured In East Chatham Neighborhood Fire

CHICAGO (CBS) — One person is dead and another was injured in a fire that broke out late Wednesday in an East Chatham neighborhood apartment building.

The Fire Department said the fire broke out in a building at 80th Street and Maryland Avenue.

One elderly man was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center and was reported in critical condition. Another man was pronounced dead.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, some residents said they were thankful they got out to safety.

De Mar spoke with Evelyn Montgomery. She said smoke detectors are the only reason she was able to escape the burning building.

Her husband made it out too, but inhaled quite a bit of smoke and was the one being treated at the hospital Wednesday night.

Montgomery escaped the burning apartment complex and was rushed to a waiting ambulance. On Wednesday night, she was doing fine.

“There was nothing but smoke,” Montgomery said, “and my husband and I – we went out the back way; out the back door to escape the smoke.”

The smoke overpowered her 85-year-old husband, Lovelace. He was loaded into a stretcher and is being treated for smoke inhalation.

“Thankful that I was able to get out, and I’m sorry that someone lost their life,” Montgomery said.

Chicago firefighters were about a block away on an unrelated call when they saw smoke coming from the apartment building.

When they drove by, they saw fire.

The man who died in the fire was in his 60s. Neighbors said he lived on one of the lower levels.

As for Montgomery, she said her husband will be OK. On Wednesday night, she said she owes it to their working smoke detectors.

“I heard it beeping and I found out there was smoke, and that’s what saved us,” she said.

About 10 people were displaced Wednesday night and will have to find somewhere else to live.