CHICAGO - House fires killed at least 11 people in Illinois and Michigan over the weekend, officials said.
In Cicero, Ill., a fire swept through an apartment building yesterday, killing seven people, including a newborn baby, a 3-year-old, four teenagers, and a 20-year-old man.
In Flint, Mich., a fire that apparently started after a father fell asleep while cooking killed his child and three other young children he was baby-sitting, authorities said.
The Cicero blaze started about 6:30 a.m. and was extinguished within an hour, but investigators searched the charred three-story building hours later for other possible victims, town spokesman Ray Hanania said.
It was unclear how many people had lived in the building, making it difficult to account for residents. “There may have been four or five families [living] in there,’’ Hanania said. “We have no idea.’’ The structure had both two- and three-bedroom apartments.
The victims’ identities were not immediately released. Three firefighters had injuries that were not life-threatening. Nearly two dozen residents were relocated to a public safety office in Cicero, about 10 miles southwest of Chicago.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Hanania said city officials would investigate whether any safety or occupancy codes were violated.
The Michigan fire started about 11 p.m. Saturday in the kitchen of a town house, Fire Battalion Chief Andy Graves said.
The man who was baby-sitting the four children, who were 1 to 4 years old, apparently dozed off while cooking, Graves said. A neighbor saw smoke and flames coming from the home and banged on the door to wake the occupants.
The 28-year-old father escaped through a first-floor window, but none of the children got out.
Melinda Stewart, a neighbor whose three children were playmates of the children who were killed, said she called 911 in a panic. The fire flared up again early yesterday, destroying Stewart’s apartment and possessions.
Fire Battalion Chief Theresa Root told WJRT-TV it took fire crews seven minutes to arrive at the scene because a nearby firehouse had been closed because of budget cuts.