Fighting fires is not a part of standard Chicago Police officer training. Nor is catching children dropped from rooftops.
Nevertheless that's exactly what Officer Damien Cabrera and other members of the 25th district tactical team did when they found a mother and her young daughter trapped in a burning house earlier today.
Cabrera and his two partners were driving through Humboldt Park when they saw a young boy calling for help in front of 1109 N. Ridgeway Ave. The house was burning, and the boy's mother and sister were trapped inside, said Cabrera at a press conference this afternoon [video]
The officers tried to enter the home to rescue the family, but "there was just way too much smoke," said Cabrera.
"I could see past the bathroom into the kitchen, but in split seconds everything just became too much smoke, too much flame, for any of us to go any further," said Cabrera.
They went to the back of the back of the house, where a woman in her 30s was on the small roof above the porch outside a second story window. With her was her 4-year-old daughter.
"We convinced the mom to drop the child," said Cabrera.
"She let the baby go and she had faith in us," said Cabrera, who caught the girl with the help of his partner, Joshua Diaz.
After dropping her daughter, the mother jumped from the roof into the waiting arms of other police officers.
The mother and her two children were taken to Norwegian Memorial hospital with minor smoke inhalation, said spokesman Larry Langford of the Chicago Fire Department. All three are in good condition, said Langford.
While the cause of the fire remains unknown at this time, Langford stressed that firefighters found no evidence of smoke detectors in the house.
"People need warning," Langford said.