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updated: 7/31/2011 10:38 PM

Father, son rescued from burning building in W. Chicago

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A West Chicago father and son were rescued from a third-floor balcony Sunday night after a fire inside an apartment building filled the stairwells with heavy smoke, preventing them from escaping, according to fire officials.

Residents of all 24 units of the building on the 1600 block of Windsor Drive were forced to find temporary housing after the fire forced crews to shut off utilities to the building, West Chicago Fire District Deputy Chief Hugh Stott said.

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"The guys did a very professional job," Stott said. "They prevented it from becoming a very serious situation."

About 50 firefighters from eight departments responded to the blaze about 5:30 p.m. and found smoke billowing from the front of the building. Firefighters reached the trapped father and middle school-aged son with a ladder. Neither was injured, according to fire officials.

"The amount of smoke in the building prohibited them from going down the stairs," Stott said.

The fire was contained to the first-floor storage room, where it started and was brought under control in about 20 minutes, Stott said.

Twelve of the building's 24 units were left uninhabitable because of smoke damage.

The cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $200,000 in damage, remained under investigation by the West Chicago fire and police departments late Sunday and could take several days to pin down, Stott said.

One firefighter injured his hand during the blaze.

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