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Illinois Officer Saves Two from Burning Building

April 01--A veteran police officer in west suburban Lyons spotted a building on fire early this morning and rushed inside, alerting police and fire dispatchers and then leading a man and child to safety before being overcome by smoke, officials said.

Minutes later, a woman trapped on the second floor dropped a toddler into the arms of police officers and firefighters. The woman was brought down on a ladder, Lyons Police Commander Brian Kuratko said.

"I just wanted to make sure she was safe," said the toddler's mother, Mary Jones. "So I just hurried up and gave her to the police so she would get out of the building. . .I knew if I would have opened the door, like the fire would have just been blazing, so I went back to the window."

Kuratko said the officer's swift action helped save the lives of the building's sleeping residents.

The officer was on patrol around 12:20 a.m. when he spotted smoke and flames in a five-unit building in the 4500 block of Prescott Avenue, Lyons Police Commander Brian Kuratko said.

After alerting police and fire dispatchers, the officer entered the building and led the man and child to safety before being overcome by smoke, officials said. Firefighters arriving on the scene found the fire spreading quickly and worked to wake the building's 11 residents and bring them to safety.

The officer, who has been on the force for 30 years, was brought to a hospital and was expected to recover.

"We're real proud of what he did," the commander said. "We got very lucky here. . .This building went up very fast."

Residents were being assisted by the Red Cross, Kuratko said.

Twitter: @AdamSege

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