Deadly House Fire Claims 1, Second Victim in Grave Condition

Elderly woman died in overnight fire, caregiver in critical condition. House did not have working smoke detectors, Oak Lawn fire chief says.

A deadly house fire in Oak Lawn claimed the life of an elderly woman and gravely injured her caregiver early Saturday morning.

Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets said the first call of a fire at 10124 Lawrence Court at 2:42 a.m. When firefighters rolled up on the scene at 2:47 a.m., flames were venting from the living room area.

Firefighters broke through the locked front door where they located an older woman believed to be the caregiver in the hallway.

The second elderly victim was found deceased on the couch in the living room. She is believed to be in her 70s.

The caregiver was transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where she remains in grave condition. Both women reportedly suffered from smoke inhalation.

Sheets said there were no working smoke detectors inside the home.

“We had a situation where some elderly people didn’t have an early warning device,” the fire chief said. “We believe they were overcome by smoke.”

An Oak Lawn firefighter was also injured and being treated for an elbow injury.

He did not know who placed the initial 911 call, if came from inside the house or a neighbor, but learned en route to scene from emergency dispatchers that it was an elderly woman and her caregiver.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire. Other fire companies assisting included Alsip, Evergreen Park, Hometown and North Palos.

The preliminary cause of the fire is believed to be electrical in nature. The Illinois State Fire Marshal and investigators remained on the scene Saturday morning.

The names are not being released until their families are notified. The Oak Lawn Police Department is making notifications.

Sheets said Saturday’s is the first fatal fire he’s encountered in his five years as Oak Lawn fire chief, and possibly the first in over a decade.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” the fire chief said. “Any fire related death is a tragic situation. It impacts the families, the firefighters and the community.”

Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Luther February 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Throw in all we paid SO FAR for that money pit on 111th. "A million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking about real money" Everett Dirksen
Larry Murray February 10, 2014 at 02:59 PM
Luther you bring up a great point. One of the side effects created by the village manager and village administration by dismissing the dispatch center and brining in a private company is that NOBODY will believe the village is negotiating in good faith. There is no reason for police, fire, public works or anyone else who has a contract with the village to ever believe the contract is going to be followed, legalities be damned. Now whether or not you are comfortable with the village of Oak Lawn handling village services this way is your own opinion. But it sets a precedent in all manners of business negotiations within the village services, and with businesses looking to locate or deal with village.
OakLawnGuy February 10, 2014 at 03:11 PM
The behavior of the Village Mgr with some organizations he's "negotiated" with since he came on is such that the episode with the Dispatchers is not going to degrade his reputation as a bully. It's already bad enough.
Jacob Matthews February 10, 2014 at 06:34 PM
I don't personally know Larry Deetjen, nor does he personally know me .i did however recieve a valuable piece of advice from him once, and that day he earned my support. The man learned early on not to feed on the rants of those on social media.......I took his advice and that of The Lord. I want to thank him for helping me to find peace in a village of haters.
fred February 13, 2014 at 11:26 PM
good job olfd.


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