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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.


Joe Kocur February 09, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Oh boy! What does OL do now? Between the out of control fires and burglaries what do they do!
OakLawnGuy February 09, 2014 at 01:56 PM
In all their wisdom, the Board has reduced the police force already, guess FD is next!
andy skoundrianos February 09, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Cmon OLG a bit dramatic don't you think??
OakLawnGuy February 09, 2014 at 05:10 PM
Not a lot, no. FD's been a target for Mr Deetjen and several Board members past and present for years. Been trying to get to three man trucks. That's...uh....reduction, right?
Joe Kocur February 09, 2014 at 05:35 PM
Reduction is correct OLG ! The administration is reducing everything but the all important deficit!!
andy skoundrianos February 09, 2014 at 07:40 PM
If the village went to three man trucks we wouldn't be paying 2 million a year in O.T. Deficit is caused by unfunded pension liabilities Joe
Luther February 09, 2014 at 07:46 PM
If the village hired the number of firefighters they are supposed to have we wouldn't be paying 2 million a year in O.T.
andy skoundrianos February 09, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Luther if the village had three men on an engine, we would not need the number of firefighters to support 4 men on a engine you know that . The village would have more than enough at the staffing levels they have now
Larry Murray February 10, 2014 at 12:07 AM
Don't bother arguing with Andy. He will stand by Deetjen, Bury and Co. if they decided to replace the police and fire depts with trained monkeys. He's just their loyal little cheerleader come hell or high water.
OakLawnGuy February 10, 2014 at 07:32 AM
It goes beyond that, Andy. He, and Boards members PAST AND PRESENT, have wanted OLFD to go younger and cheaper (and smaller in number) for quite a while. The problem has been political, they've needed the union endorsements whether the members were OL voters or not. Check it out, research the news cycle every election.
OakLawnGuy February 10, 2014 at 07:33 AM
They've also not been able to effectively fight the union in the court of law or public opinion.
Mongo February 10, 2014 at 07:53 AM
So the union is the problem!
Elizabeth Forsyth February 10, 2014 at 08:22 AM
It's pathetic how Andy defends this village board and it's manager. Yes please blame the employees and blame the residents for the HUGE budget deficit. The police department and fire department are already understaffed at the choice of the manger. They have already eliminated 90 percent of the emergency radio room And replaced it with part timers. I guess it would be nice to see Andy make his own opinion instead of being a puppet for the Manager. By all means, Christmas lights and abandoned building are more important than the health and safety of any resident. The Mayor and Manager need to get their priorities straight.
andy skoundrianos February 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Ms. Forsyth Where did I blame employees?? The deficit is caused by unfunded pension liabilities which is the problem with the whole state of Illinois. The opinions of former employees with an agenda is understandable,but it doesn't make them true just one side of the story. My opinions are my own whether you like them or not
Elizabeth Forsyth February 10, 2014 at 10:33 AM
Andy you came right out and blamed the deficit on engine staffing levels. Go back and read what you said.
Elizabeth Forsyth February 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM
I also have to be honest. I don't have an "agenda". I know that may make you feel better to say that but it couldn't be further from the truth. I am very concerned about the residents safety. The village had a phenomenal emergency radio room that Larry disposed of. It's clear from the numerous mistakes that it was a bad choice. He is also hurting residents refusing to hire more police and firemen because he feels money should be spent on Christmas lights and dead flowers. Again... All facts.
Luther February 10, 2014 at 11:29 AM
....if the village had three men on an engine. Yeah, and if pigs had wings they could fly. As was just proven AGAIN, Mr. Deetjen, with the support of this AND the previous board, cannot abide by the terms of any union contract. Some that he even negotiated. It seems he would rather spend the money on overtime, law suits, lawyers, and settlements. If you add up all the money that went for these, we might not have a deficit at all.
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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