Man Found Burning Near Dumpster Dies

A man who appeared to be homeless died of his injuries Tuesday evening after he possibly set himself on fire trying to stay warm behind some commercial buildings on Southwest Highway, police say.

An unidentified man died Tuesday evening after a passerby saw him on fire in the 9900 block of Southwest Highway.

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By the time Oak Lawn and Burbank firefighters arrived at the scene, the man was already dead, according to the Oak Lawn police.

Commander Det. Randy Palmer, of the Oak Lawn Police Department, said that a citizen driving by reported a man burning in a Dumpster area around 9:39 p.m. The citizen stopped and tried to extinguish the flames.

Burbank firefighters were the first to arrive on the scene, but the man was already deceased. Palmer said the man appeared to be homeless and living behind the commercial buildings on Southwest Highway.

“It appears it was an accidental fire,” Palmer said. “He tired to stay warm or was smoking and caught on fire.”

The man apparently had a bed in the enclosed bricked area behind the former ReMax building. Palmer said the man could have possibly fallen asleep while smoking in bed or started a fire trying to stay warm.

“We’re surprised that the garbage men or somebody didn’t notice him back there and call us,” the police commander said. “That’s unusual.”

The body was brought to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy on Wednesday. Oak Lawn police are working at identifying the man so they can notify his family members.

“It’s a sad case,” Palmer said.

maggie brewer April 06, 2013 at 05:44 PM
To all that have written about this tragedy please stop the bashing of the depts and people. I can only imagine for those who tried to help on how this affects u. U were there my daughters and I only have an image of all that transpired to his last breath. Everyday my girls are afraid of closing their eyes cuz they are afraid of bring visited by their dad engulfed in flames. The minute I wake up that image haunts me every minute I am awake. Jim passing was for the best cuz he would of suffered. He suffered enough thru his trials and tribulations. He is with his parents and with Jesus. He doesn't have to worry if he will eat today or be bullyed by a teenager at the park he is no longer cold and no longer fighting alcoholism he is in a better place. Those of u that were there I hope u come to the memorial because I really would like to give u a big hug for your efforts. O will post info about the memorial which will hopefully b on about a week or so.
rayzer April 10, 2013 at 05:15 PM
R.I.P Jimmy boy....aka jacuzzi jim... no more hard times, no more under the bridge, or in your little cubby hole... your home now.. we all remember you me, Lisa, Rob, Eskimo Chris, Tony, John, Ryan,and many more....211 baby...tip the bottle...
Kelly Williams April 11, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Maggie, Again I am so sorry for your loss. Your family remains in my thoughts and prayers. Please let us know any details about the memorial, I know a few of us would like to come pay our respects.
Mick Wagner April 15, 2013 at 07:28 AM
I overhead some gossip someone heard another homeless man( I think I heard themsay his name was Tim?) talking to himself saying I burn you like I did to Jim. Then I also heard something about a propane tank. Murder or an accident? Anyways RIP Jim n sorry Deb :c
maggie brewer April 17, 2013 at 07:29 PM
the Oak lawn patch will post information for the memorial mass. Debbie and I really would like for those of you that did help and were there to please come.


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