Chicago fire claims 10th kid as agency probes ne­glect claim

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

The dead­li­est res­i­den­tial fire in years in Chicago claimed its tenth and fi­nal vic­tim on Tues­day, as a 14-year-old boy who barely sur­vived the blaze died at a hospi­tal.

Although au­thor­i­ties ini­tially be­lieved that two of the peo­ple killed by the pre-dawn Sun­day fire at a South­west Side apart­ment were adults, fire depart­ment spokesman Larry Lang­ford said they were all chil­dren who ranged in age from three months to their teens.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors on Tues­day were still try­ing to de­ter­mine the cause of the fire, but a po­lice spokesman, An­thony Guglielmi, said they had ruled out ar­son.

There were no work­ing smoke alarms or adults at the home when the fire broke out, and the state’s Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices said Tues­day that it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing “al­le­ga­tions of ne­glect” in­volv­ing the chil­dren. A depart­ment spokes­woman, Alis­san­dra Calderon, de­clined to go into fur­ther de­tail about the na­ture of the al­le­ga­tions.

Only two of the chil­dren didn’t die at the scene, the teen who died Tues­day morn­ing, Adrian Her­nan­dez, and an­other 14-year-old who died Mon­day at a hospi­tal.

In an email to The As­so­ci­ated Press, Calderon said sev­eral fam­i­lies were af­fected by the fire and that her agency had had past deal­ings with three of them, though there were no pend­ing DCFS in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­volv­ing those fam­i­lies at the time of the fire.

Guglielmi said the po­lice depart­ment is com­mu­ni­cat­ing with DCFS about the fire and that it’s pos­si­ble the depart­ment could launch a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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