Motel Fire Kills 2 in Illinois

WASHINGTON PARK -- A fire at the Econo Inn early Sunday left a man and a woman dead and another woman injured, authorities said.

Katrice Carraway, 25, of East St. Louis, died in the fire, according to her cousin, Lawanda Carraway. Police were unable to confirm the name of the man who died.

Lawanda Carraway said her cousin was three months pregnant. "She just found out a month ago and was so excited," she said.

The two cousins worked together at a tire business.

"The most likely cause of death was smoke inhalation," Washington Park Fire Chief Raymond Mix said. "But you would have to talk to the coroner."

Al Ransom, an investigator with the St. Clair County coroner's office, could not be reached to verify the cause of death.

According to the motel registry, there were six to 10 people staying there that night, Mix said.

One woman was able to escape the 4:45 a.m. blaze by squeezing through the bars that are attached to the windows, said Detective Leon Hughes of the Washington Park Police Department.

"She was taken to a local hospital," Hughes said, "most likely Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital."

A spokesman for Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital in East St. Louis said the hospital treated someone for smoke inhalation who was transferred to St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur, Mo. The Kenneth Hall spokesman was unable to disclose more information.

The Econo Inn, which is off the Kingshighway exit of Interstate 64, has been closed due to the smoke and fire damage. Workers were at the motel Sunday morning boarding up the windows.

Lawanda Carraway said she did not understand why the bars were placed over the motel windows.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Mix said he will visit the motel this morning with the fire marshal in an effort to determine the cause of the fire.