The smell of oil—or is it gas?—startles the young mother of six. She sits up in the bed; her eyes dart across the cramped room. She checks on Paula, her baby, and covers her with a towel, but doesn’t notice Roy, Jr. sitting against the wall, his eyes covered with tears. Then, an explosion flashes up the gut of the South Side tenement. Orange flames swallow the flimsy walls and floorboards and engulf the stairwells. Hers is the only voice: “My babies. My babies.” She opens the room’s only window, squeezes Paula against her chest, and pushes herself off the ledge.