A husband and wife were found dead after a fire in Chicago Heights early Friday morning, according to authorities.
The fire happened in the 200 block of East 24th Street in Chicago Heights, a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office said. Family members and investigators identified the victims as Lillian Hill-Harrison, 47, and Lemont Harrison, 43, who lived in the home where the fire took place.
Both were pronounced at Franciscan St. James hospital in Chicago Heights. The man was an amputee, according to the fire department. He was pronounced dead about 1:50 a.m. The woman was pronounced dead about an hour later.
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- 200 East 24th Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411, USA
The fire broke out about midnight and initial reports indicated that three children may have been trapped in the burning home but a search didn't turn up any children, according to the Chicago Heights Fire Department.
The home did not have working smoke detectors, the fire department said. No neighboring buildings were damaged in the fire.
It's not yet clear whether the fire caused the deaths. Autopsies could happen this afternoon or tomorrow.
Neighbors said before firefighters arrived the front of the house was engulfed in flames and the flickering light of flames was visible in windows along the side of the house.
"It was so bright. The light coming in our window was like the headlight of a car," said a woman who lives across the street, who declined to give her name.
"When I came outside and saw, I said, 'If somebody was in that house, you could tell they were gone.' It was already that burned up."
Next door neighbor Beatriz Ayala said the couple were friendly and that the man had only one leg and his wife worked two jobs and seldom was home during daylight hours.
"I talked to her last week. She asked could my dad or brother mow their yard, because (the man) had one leg," Ayala said. "I told her you don't have to pay anything. We'll do it."
Chicago Ridge Fire Chief James Angell said his department was dispatched to the home around 1 a.m., and that the fire was under control within 10 minutes, "but the damage was already done."
Firefighters entered the burning house and found the couple unresponsive in a back bedroom in the rear of the house, he said. They attempted to revive them enroute to the hospital, but neither had a pulse when firefighters removed them from the house, Angell said.
Neighbors told the first crews at the scene that three children lived with the couple, prompting firefighters to sweep the house more than three times in search of the children. The children, other neighbors said, were grandchildren who only visited on weekends, Angell said.
The fire apparently started in the front of the house on the first floor. State fire marshals so far have ruled out electrical problems as the cause, as well as arson, Angell said.