A woman and her 5-year-old granddaughter died this morning in a fire in an apartment that was not equipped with smoke detectors in the South Shore neighborhood, authorities said.
Fire officials were called around 8:30 a.m. to a three-story building in the 2000 block of East 79th Street, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Will Knight.
Suzette Dorsey would have turned 43 next week on April 13, said her husband, Alonzo Dorsey. She took care of their granddaughter, Alana, he added.
“She’s a very caring person,” her husband said. “She did anything she could for anyone.”
Preliminary information indicates the child might have been playing with a lighter in a cubby area in the third-floor apartment, Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.
Tonya Brooks was headed home from work when her son called to tell her that her apartment building was on fire. Immediately, Brooks thought of her mother, who also lived in the apartment.
As soon as she got off the bus, she saw her mother standing out side. But she learned her two neighbors died shortly after the Wednesday morning blaze began.
All I can say is they were really, really nice people," Brooks said.
Dorsey and her granddaughter had moved in a few months ago, Brooks said. The 42-year-old had health problems but Brooks didn't know what kind.
Chicago Fire Department Spoksman Larry Langford said fire investigators determined that the fire was caused by an open flame. There were no smoke detectors in the apartment but there was at least one in a common area, Langford said.
Fire officials pulled the woman from the apartment and then found the child, according to Knight.
The woman was taken in critical condition to Jackson Park Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to Knight. Mirabelli said the girl was pronounced dead at Comer Children's Hospital.
There is a beauty salon on the ground floor of the building and apartments on the two top floors.
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