Woman rescued from burning Hammond home

2012-06-06T08:00:00Z 2012-06-06T08:01:07Z Woman rescued from burning Hammond homeBy Lauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A Hammond woman was revived by firefighters after being pulled unconscious from her burning home early Tuesday.

Firefighters were called just before 8 a.m. to a home in the 4700 block of Sheffield Avenue just north of Hoffman Street, said Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith. When firefighters arrived, they found flames shooting out of a first-floor window on the south end of the building.

A female resident of the home in her 60s or 70s was found unconscious in the dining room.

"She was not breathing and had no pulse when they pulled her out but before she left (for the hospital), they had a pulse on her, which is a good sign," Smith said.

The woman initially was transported to Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond before being airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospitals in critical condition, a spokesman for Franciscan Alliance said.

Smith said the fire reached the second floor, but firefighters had water on the home "within a minute" of arriving at the scene. Crews were rolling up hoses and beginning their investigation into the cause of the fire by 9 a.m.

Ray and Denise Ayala have lived next door to the home for about a year. The Ayalas said the woman taken to the hospital lives in the home with her brother, who was not home at the time of the fire.

The siblings lived in the home "for a long, long time," Denise Ayala said.

"I left around 7 o'clock and saw he was already gone," Ray Ayala said. "When I came back, I saw the smoke. I tried to break the door down, but it isn't as easy as it looks on TV."

The Ayalas said neither the woman nor her brother smoked.

"I just hope she's OK," Denise Ayala said.

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