High-rise Heroes: Victims of fire helped rescue elderly woman - FOX 32 News Chicago

High-rise Heroes: Victims of fire helped rescue elderly woman

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The two men who died in the high-rise fire on the South Side on Tuesday are being called heroes by the fire department.

The fire, which began about 8:40 a.m. on the seventh floor of 6730 S. South Shore Dr., sent three people to hospitals in critical condition. Two of those victims died — Jameel Johnson, who was in his 30s; and John Fasula, 50, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

The cause of the fire still hasn't been determined, but fire officials say the death toll may have been higher if not for the heroism of both Johnson and Fasula.

Authorities say neither Johnson or Fasula lived in the high-rise, were doing some cable TV work in the building at the time. Johnson's longtime fiance and mother of his two children told her landlord Wednesday morning that she spoke to Jameel Tuesday morning, just minutes before the tragic fire.

"He called her at 8:30 in the morning saying he was doing his install of cable in a high-rise and he didn't like high-rises and apparently went in and was going to do his job and at 8:40 responders showed up and the kid was already in the building that had a fire in it," Johnson's landlord Charlie Vopinek says.

Minutes later, according to the fire department, the two men heard screams from a 7th floor unit. Inside, they rescued an 81-year-old woman, took her to an elevator and pushed the button for the first floor, sending her to safety. She's still hospitalized in critical condition.

Then, they found fire extinguishers and headed back to her apartment to fight the fire. That's where they were found by firefighters, in full cardiac arrest.

A neighbor says she's not surprised at Johnson's heroism.

"I mean, just do anything from what I know of him...but he was really sweet, really sweet," Beverly Williams says of Johnson.

John Fasula reportedly worked as a maintenance supervisor for the CTA, doing some cable repair work on the side.

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