[Photos by Christopher Heimerman – email@example.com]
Carpenter, 37, lives on the second floor of the apartment building at 808 Ridge Drive. While several other residents were pinned in their apartments by fire and smoke, Carpenter was able to pack his cat, Angus, into his pet taxi, get out and get to work.
"We've had two big [fires like this] and a couple of little ones," said Carpenter, who's lived in the building about a year. "People lose their minds. That's what I worry about. I don't play in these situations. I get to work."
So he said he grabbed a ladder and helped two people out of their apartments.
"Somebody else got one, too," Carpenter said. "The whole second-floor hallway was engulfed."
This marks the third big fire in the building since October, and the second to happen early in the morning. A 30-year-old DeKalb man was pronounced dead at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital after firefighters responded about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 27 to a fire in a second-floor apartment.
Chikyta Williams, 24, of the 1000 block of Crane Drive was charged with arson after police say she set multiple fires Jan. 9 in an apartment in the building and remains in DeKalb County jail on $100,000 bond. On May 25, she filed a motion asking for a new lawyer, saying Public Defender Tom McCullough doesn't visit her in jail and doesn't return calls from her parents who have questions about her case. She could face six to 30 years in prison, if she's convicted of aggravated arson.
DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks said the three fires appear initially to be unrelated to each other, but an investigation in ongoing and more information will likely be released this afternoon. The building is owned by Hunter Properties, and messages seeking comment have not yet been returned.