Weather Updates

Officer saves residents from apartment fire

Photo/Fire MediAffairs.

Photo/Fire Media Affairs.

storyidforme: 49081569
tmspicid: 18254265
fileheaderid: 8205612
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 13, 2013 7:24PM

A Chicago cop who was a block away when he heard a call about a fire in a three-story apartment building in Lawndale rushed over and helped several people get out safely Saturday morning.

Ogden District Officer Edward Leighton got to the building in the 1900 block of South Drake Avenue, kicked down the door of the unoccupied first-floor apartment, then went on to the second floor, where he knocked in the door and found a mother helping her 8-year-old son with his homework.

Leighton said Zabrina Washington, 33, told him she’d seen smoke but didn’t realize the fire was coming from her building.

After escorting Washington, her six children, their five dogs and their cat outside to safety, Leighton went back in and up to the third-floor apartment, where he kicked in the door and, finding himself faced with a wall of smoke, ran back downstairs and tried but couldn’t get in through the back of the building.

He saw a 54-year-old woman in the third-floor window, had her keep her head out the window in the fresh air and talked with her to keep her calm until firefighters arrived and, using a rescue ladder, brought her down safely and gave her oxygen.

The woman’s 21-year-old son jumped from the balcony to the roof of a neighboring two-story building and was helped down by firefighters.

“I wouldn’t want to be a fireman,” said Leighton, a cop for eight years. “That was scary.”

The woman was taken to Stroger Hospital, and her son was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. Both were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

The American Red Cross is providing Washington and her children with a place to stay for two nights. She was looking for somewhere to place her dogs.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.