UPDATED: 1 Dead, 1 Hospitalized after Oak Forest House Fire

One woman is dead and a man is hospitalized after a house fire in the 15200 block of Central Avenue in Oak Forest Tuesday morning.

Updated, 6:00 p.m.

One of the victims of a house fire in Oak Forest Tuesday sustained injuries “not related” to the blaze, Sun-Times Media reports.

Original Story

A 40-year-old woman is dead and her 48-year-old husband remains hospitalized after a fire in their home near 153rd and Central Avenue Tuesday morning.

Neighbors reported smoke pouring out of the home's windows this morning around 9 a.m. Firefighters arriving on the scene at 15230 S. Central Ave. found a man unresponsive on the front porch, according to police. 

Erica Rodriguez was found dead inside the home, according to Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Her husband Martin Rodriguez was transported to South Suburban Hospital, and later transferred to Advocate Christ Medical Center. 

Oak Forest Fire Chief Terry Lipinski told Sun-Times reporters that one of the victims sustained injuries not related to the fire, but would not elaborate on which victim, or the injuries.

Neighbor Lydia Ponzcak witnessed both victims being removed from the fire. Martin Rodriguez was bloodied in the chest area, she observed. 

"It looked to me like he had streaks of blood on his chest," she said.

His wife was carried out of the home covered up to the chest, and her face appeared "badly, badly burned."

Ponczak called the couple "absolutely great neighbors," who were very friendly and would wave. 

"They were very nice people, as far as we could tell," she said. "We never heard any arguments coming from there or any noise. Kids were well-behaved, never trouble in the neighborhood. They lived there about 8 years."

Officers are treating the scene as a crime scene, Anderson said, adding that it is standard operating procedure. The Illinois State Fire Marshal and South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are investigating.

The couple's three children—a daughter aged 17, son aged 15, and daughter aged 6—were in school at the time of the fire. 

"I can't imagine leaving your home to go to school and when you come home, there's no home, no family there," Ponczak said. "One of your parents is dead and the other one is clinging to life."

Patch will update as more details become available. 

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Joe December 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Who is "Deb pahl Steam" & "Graham" you ppl seen this coming WHAT! You know nothing these were nice ppl and victims....i see where your going with this you should stop right there Perry Mason keep your unfounded speculations to your self its not wanted here!!
Chap December 21, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Before anyone leaves a comment, you need to consider the family. There are children involved here. We are called to show love on people. None of us are super-sleuths. We are a community and need to come together to help this family. Use not only discretion, but compassion. Are we that de/un-sensitized? Tragedy is not something to cast our opinion on. Let the OFPD do their job. If you want to do some good; donate clothing and toys and by all means;pray for this family.
OF Resident December 21, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Joe, for the children, I pray to god that this isn't a case of domestic violence!!! But, unless you live with someone, you have no clue what goes on behind closed doors. Just because someone is nice outside the home, and can put on a smile, doesn't mean that things are the same behind closed doors. Do you honestly think they (they meaning anyone suffering from domestic violence) goes around town and talks about it. No, it is a horrible, shameful, act that goes on right under everyone's noses, everyday, in every town. For the children's sake, maybe those type of comments should have not been posted, but don't assume that those people didn't know what was going on. Maybe your the one who really didn't know what was going on behind their closed door.
Patty LaBuda December 22, 2012 at 04:24 AM
I have read this entire thread because I too am a mother of a dauther who is close friends to the eldest daughter....this tradedy has affected my family...my daughter cries herself to sleep at night....there is more to this story...stop speculating and talking about suff that you do not know is fact....let the criminal investigaton do their jobs before you judge.
Jill December 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Well still, no one mentioned anything about why 2 people here "saw this coming".


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