CHICAGO (AP) — Three young brothers who died in a fire were trapped in an illegal basement apartment with only one exit that was blocked by flames, the Chicago Fire Department said Tuesday.
A fourth boy remains in extremely critical condition from the fire, which broke out early Sunday in the back of the West Side apartment, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
The boys' mother was badly burned and inhaled smoke, Langford said. She was forced to break a window to escape, he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The mother remained hospitalized while she recovers from burns to her face, Langford said.
Firefighters responded at 12:20 a.m. and had to break through the locked apartment door, Langford said.
All four boys suffered smoke inhalation, Langford said.
The three boys who have died have been identified as 4-year-old Axel Cruz, 6-year-old Jayden Cruz and 11-year-old Angel Rodriguez.
Investigators determined the fire was caused by an open flame, Langford said.