By Suzanne Le Mignot
CHICAGO (WBBM) — Flames filled an Englewood home Wednesday morning, and if not for quick action from a Chicago Police officer driving by, one man in a wheelchair said he would not be alive.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reported, the officer was being treated at the University of Chicago Medical Center for minor smoke inhalation Wednesday afternoon. To say the man he rescued is grateful would be an understatement.
“I just thank Chicago PD and the Fire Department for coming as quick as they did because sometimes, everyone is not so lucky – and I just appreciate everybody that did what they did today,” said Joseph Ortiz.
The fire started around 9:30 a.m. at a home in the 6700 block of South Normal Avenue. Police ran to the house, and started knocking on doors to get inside and tell everyone to get out.
One officer found Ortiz in his wheelchair trapped upstairs, and carried both him and the chair out to safety.
“Officer McCoy, he came and grabbed me. I don’t even know how he found me in that room full of smoke like that, and he found me, he got me down inside my wheelchair. So that’s a blessing that he could even get me down in the wheelchair like that,” Ortiz said. “I hope he’s all right. I hope he’s OK.”
Ortiz said if police officers had not showed up and told him what was going on, “I would have died, probably. I probably would have died. All I can say is I thank everyone who came to help me.”
Police said officers were able to help a total of four people to escape the fire.
“It was kind of scary, man. It was just – I didn’t even know the house was on fire,” Ortiz said, “As soon as I came out of the room and I saw the smoke, it was an officer, there was a lot of officers that came in and tried to help us.”
Again, paramedics took one officer to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Police said he is expected to be released from the hospital later in the day.
“It’s amazing,” Ortiz said. “Sometimes we look at the police and we feel some type of way, but today is just a lesson to be shown. They are here to help us in every type of way, any type of way and I appreciate them for their work.”
The cause of the fire remained unknown late Wednesday.
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