Chicago Man Dies in Fire


A 37-year-old man, said to be a heavy smoker, was killed in a fire at his Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood house Monday night on the South Side.

Two police officers who helped rescue residents and a firefighter were hurt in the blaze, which police said may have been caused by careless use of smoking materials.

Arthur Kosnalski, of 4715 S. Paulina St., was pronounced dead at 10:38 p.m. at Holy Cross Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Bomb & Arson Section Sgt. Anthony Andrews said it is likely that the preliminary cause of the fire was careless use of smoking materials.

Just after 9:40 p.m., firefighters elevated a blaze at a 2½-story building at 4715 S. Paulina St. to a still-and-box alarm, Fire Media Affairs Assistant Director Eve Rodriguez said.

The fire started in the back of the building on the second floor and severely damaged the roof. Firefighters extinguished the blaze at about 10:10 p.m., Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the mixed-use building has a tavern on the ground floor and residences above. Danas Place tavern is listed at the Paulina Street address, but nobody answered the phone at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Initially, Kosnalski was taken in extremely critical condition to Holy Cross Hospital, Rodriguez said. An autopsy is scheduled for later Tuesday, the medical examiner's office said.

Two police officers and a firefighter were injured in the fire, Rodriguez said. The officers were helping two women, 65 and 70, escape the burning building when the officers suffered smoke inhalation, Deering District police Capt. Donald ONeill said.

A firefighter injured his back battling the blaze, the captain said.

The officers were taken in stable condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and the firefighter was taken in stable condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rodriguez said.

Firefighters and public educators are expected to canvass the neighborhood near 4715 S. Paulina St. to distribute fire safety information and smoke detectors to families.

Copyright 2008, Sun-Times News Group