Chicago police officer saves woman, 6 children from burning home

May 12, 2013 5:02:07 AM PDT
A Chicago police officer rushed into a burning building to rescue a woman and several children in the 1900-block of South Drake.

Chicago Police Officer Edward Leighton was just a block away when the 911 call for help came in around 9:30 a.m. Saturday. He kicked in the building's doors, and ran inside where he found a woman and her five children on the second floor.

"I had to do what I had to do. I got caught up in the moment. I let the pros take over after that," Officer Leighton said. Leighton, who had no equipment, said he was overcome with smoke.

"I literally couldn't see a foot in front of me. I took several feet in, and immediately retreated backwards," Officer Leighton said.

"The officer that came in, was like, 'Get out of the house. Iit's a fire. It's a fire.' And I grabbed my kids, the dogs and we exited the building. I told him that there were people upstairs," Sabrina Washington said.

When firefighters arrived they used a ladder to bring another woman down to safety. Her 21-year old son had jumped from their balcony onto the roof of a neighboring building.

"He self-extricated, we had to use a ladder to bring him down for a second rescue," Chicago Fire Chief Tom Sweeney said.

Both of those two were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, but have been treated and released. Nobody else was injured.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

When Officer Leighton was just 4 years old, he and his 6-year-old sister were rescued during a fire by Chicago police officers.

"Something in the kitchen caught fire, they were trapped in the front bedroom, the babysitter managed to get out and get help but the kids were trapped," Edward Leighton Sr., officer's father, said.

While Officer Leighton doesn't remember the rescue, his parents believe it played a part in his brave actions on Saturday.

"That's what he signed up for, to save and protect and it's exactly what he's doing," Elida Leighton, officer's mother, said.


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