Man in very critical condition after saving grandson from house fire

CHICAGO — A 69-year-old man, who was reported to be dead by police after saving his grandson from a house fire, is still alive and in critical condition.

The man dropped his 7-year-old grandson from a second-floor window and into the arms of officers as fire spread through a Far South Side home Sunday.

Police had reported earlier the man had died from his injuries, but now say the man is in very critical condition, according to family members.

Flames could be seen for blocks and billowing smoke was visible for miles after fire broke out in a two-story coach house near 100th Street and Avenue L in the East Side neighborhood Sunday.

When emergency crews arrived on the scene around 3:30 p.m., bystanders told them two people were trapped on the second floor. With smoke billowing from the home, a 69-year-old man removed a window and dropped his grandson into the arms of two officers below. The man eventually collapsed, and was taken from the building by firefighters.

The boy is hospitalized for smoke inhalation and is in stable condition at Comer Children's Hospital, police said.

His grandfather was taken to University of Chicago Hospital in critical condition with burns and smoke-related injuries.

Jeffery Horan, a Deputy District Chief with the CFD, said firefighters did not find any working smoke detectors in the home. Landlord Martin Roses denies the claim, saying there are smoke detectors, "in the halls and inside the apartments." A firefighter was also treated for exhaustion, but she's expected to recover.

Fire officials are trying to determine what caused the fire, but said bodycam footage of the rescue effort may be released. Firefighters even saved all but one of the pets belonging to the family on the first floor. A family of six that lives on that floor was not home when the fire started.