Chicago Fire Leaves Woman Dead, Man Critical

The man met firefighters as he exited the building and told them his wife was still inside.


June 08--A woman is dead and her husband critically injured after a Sunday morning fire at a West Side home, Chicago fire officials said.

The Chicago Fire Department received a call about the fire at about 5:43 a.m., according to fire department spokesman Larry Langford. Firefighters were on the scene in about five minutes and found a "heavy" fire, Langford said, a fire that eventually caused the building's second floor to partially collapse onto the first floor. He said that it took firefighters 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

A man coming down from the second floor of the building told a fire search-and-rescue team that his wife was still in the building; she was found dead in a section of the second floor, Langford said. The man was critically burned and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. Langford said both the man and the woman appeared to be in their 40s; the man described the woman as his wife.

The Cook County medical examiner's office said that it had been notified of the death but would not release any further information regarding the gender or age of the person that died in the fire.

Langford said the building did not have electricity, water or gas service and had been vacant, though squatters have been "in and out for years."

He said that the fire had been caused by "open flame ignition of available combustibles," indicating that perhaps the fire had been started for heat as the temperatures turned a little chilly overnight.

He said that four people living in a neighboring home had been displaced by the blaze.

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