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Third Body Found in Rubble of Fatal Oak Lawn House Fire

Third victim found in debris of fatal Oak Lawn house fire. Police and fire investigators remain on scene.

Video interviews with Oak Lawn chief of detectives and fire chief at scene of fatal house fire in Oak Lawn.
Video interviews with Oak Lawn chief of detectives and fire chief at scene of fatal house fire in Oak Lawn.


By LORRAINE SWANSON | Patch Editor

Investigators remained on the scene of a house fire in the 9800 block of South 51st Avenue in Oak Lawn, where a third female victim has been.

The bodies of two male adults were taken from the scene earlier and brought to the Cook County Medical Examiner. All three victims are expected to be autopsied tomorrow.

The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is assisting Oak Lawn police in what is being termed a death investigation.

Illinois State Fire Marshal investigators were also on the scene.

An Oak Lawn firefighter came upon the fire on his way to work and called it around 5:16 a.m. 

Single-digit temperatures and a frozen fire hydrant hampered firefighters’ efforts in knocking down the blaze that raged for three hours before being extinguished.

Firefighters found the first victim in the hallway and dragged him outside. Moments later, a second victim was found in the garage, Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets told Patch.

The body of a woman was found underneath debris where a crane was steadily digging Wednesday afternoon.

One more person said to be living at the house is unaccounted for, Sheets said.

Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Michael Kaufmann also confirmed the location of the two male victims’ bodies in the home.

Kaufmann said that four feet of water needed to be pumped from the basement and debris removed for the investigation to continue.

“It’s going to be a little bit of time to get this moving,” Kaufmann said. “[Investigators] are looking for evidence or any other people who may have been in the house and are under debris.”

Kaufmann would not comment if foul play was suspected, or if the deceased had been shot before the fire.

“We’ll leave the determination of the cause of death to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office,” Kaufmann said. “At this point we haven’t confirmed who they are.”

A neighbor told Patch that a married couple in their 60s lived in the home for about 20 years. The couple had an adult son and daughter. The son may have been living with his parents in the home.

He called them a “credit to the neighborhood.”

“They had a beautiful home,” Barney Nolan said. “The man was retired and was always outside working on the yard.”

Check back for more updates.

Original story -- Two people have been found dead after a house fire destroyed a home this morning, WGN reports. 

The fire started at around 5 a.m. in the 9800 block of 51st Avenue. The blaze took nearly three hours to extinguish, as firefighters struggled with the weather and a frozen hydrant. The victims have not been identified at this time. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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Wonder Woman February 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM
Meanwhile in Oak Lawn, 2 people died tragically in a fire this morning. How did this news story become about politics and trolling? Get it together, people!
Joe Kocur February 26, 2014 at 12:32 PM
3 people! Possible 4tth in basement. Crane raising roof now. Good grief! God bless
Joe Kocur February 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM
One body was found in car in driveway! Looks to be murder/suicide
Larry Murray February 26, 2014 at 12:35 PM
It is, cop friend has mentioned to me a possibly witnessed suicide in the garage, then entire family missing.
Joe Kocur February 26, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Did you hear 4 people Larry?
Larry Murray February 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM
Well, my brother-in- law is a cop, he's saying they aren't exact on how many people were in the house, but there may be 3 with the suicide but it's possible there are 3 more. Good lord....
Joe Kocur February 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Thanks Larry- let's hope there isn't any more bodies. Sad just sad.
Sarah Miller February 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Oh, my gosh! This story is getting worse and worse!
Jamie Vahos Floyd February 26, 2014 at 01:32 PM
I think I see an orb in the picture of the fire department vehicle. O,o Such a tragic story. I hope the people who lost their lives can rest in peace soon. I hope they knew the lord our savior.
Pat Cannon February 26, 2014 at 01:49 PM
detectives need to check medicine cabinet , and see who was on SSRI's (anti depressants )....then they will know who flipped out for sure...just like a school or movie theater shooting .. follow the pharma drugs, ( i mean blame a gun ) but media never wants to talk about big pharma, way to much money in advertizing...
Oak Lawn Readerr February 26, 2014 at 02:32 PM
God bless
Amal Ramadan February 26, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Oh my goodness, what a tragic story. Prayers to the family of the victims.
Larry Murray February 26, 2014 at 04:39 PM
Dan spells it wrong......that's kind of appropriate for him...
Oak Lawn Readerr February 26, 2014 at 04:50 PM
o need to insult anyone on this story, "Trish Brnnan Bergquist". Keep it respectful. People died and our fireman, police and community are grieving. We don't need a Sandra Bury supporter knitpicking grammar.
Amanda Horn February 26, 2014 at 05:17 PM
Someone saying there is no need to insult anyone just insulted someone.
Larry Murray February 26, 2014 at 05:28 PM
Hey Oak Lawn Readerr, Maybe you should go read Dans comments, and then take a look at who the inappropriate comments have come from.
JB18 February 26, 2014 at 05:38 PM
Tribune has elderly man and woman shot to death and another took his life in the garage.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) February 26, 2014 at 05:45 PM
They are removed, Larry. You can also flag inappropriate comments.
Larry Murray February 26, 2014 at 05:55 PM
Lorraine, Sadly "Dan" is a troll posting on some other online sites as well under different names, but the exact same worded posts attached to the same news story, and they are usually filled with attacks on everything from race, religion, sex and voting records!
Oak Lawn Gal February 26, 2014 at 06:07 PM
Really sad story. Prayers for the family.
Oak Lawn Readerr February 26, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Prayers for the family and our brave fireman. They performed under the worst conditions.
Wolf Man February 26, 2014 at 07:09 PM
We all have a job to do, political associations are not appropriate when people have lost their lives in a tragedy like this one. We have all lost loved ones so I say let these people grieve in peace.
Edward February 26, 2014 at 08:59 PM
Pat Cannon I couldnt agree more!
jc February 26, 2014 at 09:00 PM
I wonder if the olpd will botch this like the death on 110th and kominsky
Mark February 26, 2014 at 09:45 PM
This is real sad! Prayers go out to the all the fireman and police who were involved in this tragic event. What they had to view today is something they will always have to remember. How anyone could do what is speculated is mind blowing. I hope all who know about this story say a prayer for all who are involved tonight. May God bless everyone!!
Pat F February 26, 2014 at 11:18 PM
RIP..prayers and our thoughts go to everyone involved, both living and deceased.......
Jason Ramos February 27, 2014 at 09:43 AM
JC... can you please elaborate on your "botched" investigation theory? I have a strong feeling you have no idea what you're talking about.
JoeCool February 27, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Prayers to the family. Same old story GUNS!
Jim Vertucci February 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Well that's a VERY ignorant statement. If he would've stabbed them do you blame the knife? The kid had mental issues. Was on meds for a while. Blame him, his brain and the meds.
JoeCool February 28, 2014 at 08:55 AM
Ignorance is to think you are not more likely to be injured or killed by your own gun. Most likely, by a family member or significant other. These are facts. If a knife was involved, you would have a fighting chance to save yourself or others.

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