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Smoke detectors at apartment where infant died weren’t working

Fire crews respond fire 3100 block West Franklin. | Courtesy

Fire crews respond to a fire in the 3100 block of West Franklin. | Courtesy

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Updated: September 20, 2012 12:26PM

Fire Department investigators say there were smoke detectors at a Humboldt Park apartment building were an infant girl died in a blaze Wednesday, but they were not working.

Three-month-old Miracle Hooks was found dead in a bedroom of an apartment in the 3100 block of West Fraklin Boulevard Wednesday evening as firefighters battled a heavy fire in the building.

The fire started about 5:05 p.m. at the two-story apartment building, Fire Media Affairs spokeswoman Meg Alhleim said.

Firefighters arrived about two minutes later and found “heavy heat and heavy fire” in the rear of the building, Alhleim said. A group of people outside the building, including the infant’s grandmother, told firefighters the baby was inside, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

Firefighters found the infant dead in a back bedroom in the first floor apartment, Alhleim said.

“They made an aggressive attack,” Langford said. “They got into the back as fast as they could, but it was too late.”

Firefighters “faced a lot of very heavy fire,” Langford said. “Enough to melt the smoke detectors off the wall.”

Investigators found smoke detectors on the first and second floors, but those smoke detectors were not working, Alhleim said Thursday. The department was passing out smoke detectors around the area Thursday morning.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Thursday, Alhleim said, who could not confirm reports that the blaze was sparked by a space heater.

Eighteen adults and 12 children were displaced by the blaze, according to Alhleim.

The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago has opened a shelter at 100 N. Central Park Ave. for five families displaced by the fire.

According to a release from the Red Cross, 23 people were provided shelter, food and other necessities at the shelter. Red Cross mental health counselors are also on hand to help shelter residents deal with their loss, the release said.

The Red Cross will determine how long to keep the shelter open based on the needs of those impacted.

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