Edgewater apartments severely damaged in fire

Fire tore through a three-story  building on the city's far north side this afternoon, forcing at least a dozen people from their apartments.

Firefighters received a call at 3:10 p.m. and arrived at 6037-6043 N. Kenmore to find the front porches of the complex completely burned, says Battalion Chief Mike Barrett.

The fire spread quickly from the first floor through the second and third floors to the roof, says Barrett.

Emmanuel Amoah, 12, who lives on N. Kenmore, first saw flames shooting out from the roof at the back of the building.

"I ran up and saw windows bursting out of the building from the fire, then firemen came and started hosing it out," says Amoah. I saw one guy running out holding his dog. It was like in a book."

Firefighters had subdued the blaze "with no major problems" within an hour, and there were no injuries reported, says Barrett.

Melodie Garcia, a resident of the block, says the fire was very fast moving.

"We saw flames pouring out of the middle first floor window. It was just pouring. We just kept seeing it move up, and then we saw it shoot up through the roof--that was in a matter of 5 to 10 minutes," says Garcia.

The building had received an extensive makeover this past summer, with tuckpointing, new roofing and new windows, according to Garcia.

At approximately 3:45 p.m. a firefighter delivered a cocker spaniel puppy into the arms of a tearful young woman who had evacuated the building.

Fifteen units of the building were affected, but most of the inhabitants had a place to stay, says Martha Dittmar, communications director for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

The Red Cross was still on the scene at 6:30 p.m., providing food and clothing to homeless residents and waiting for more residents to return home from work, says Dittmar.

Nearly 60 emergency workers responded to the fire, the cause of which is under investigation.