Chicago apartment fire kills 8, including children, officials say

A nearby resident went door-to-door evacuating neighbors saving

"The female who did that saved a lot of lives", Santiago said.

At least two buildings caught fire, one of them described by fire department officials as a coach house.

According to family members, the victims include: three-month-old Maya Almaraz, Ariel Garcia, age five, Lonni Ayala, age three, Gialonni Ayala, age five, Xavier Contreras, age 11, Nathan Contreras, age 13, Giovanni Ayala, age 10, and Victor Mendoza, age 16.

The cause of the fire, which occurred on the 2200 block of Sacramento Avenue in the city's Marshall Square neighborhood, is not yet known.

A teen and a young adult were transported to Stroger Hospital, where they were in very critical condition, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said.

A fire lieutenant was also taken to the hospital for overexertion, but he was stable, officials added.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said the victims have not been identified, and autopsies have not yet been scheduled.

'I can't live without my babies, ' one woman cried.

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The Chicago Fire Department was dispatched to the fire around 4 a.m. She said she told everyone in her home to get out.

"We have not had this in many, many, many years - this amount of fatalities and injuries in one location", he said.

Porod said she watched the news to see if anyone she knew had died or been hurt.

People stand around at the scene of the fire.

He says there was no working smoke detector that would have alerted the victims to the fire that started in a back porch of a rear building.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

It will also help organize funerals and community memorials in the next few weeks.

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