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Man Dies A Week After Braidwood Fire

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BRAIDWOOD, Ill. (CBS) – A man from the Will County community of Braidwood is dead, almost a week after a three-alarm house fire that police are now calling suspicious.

Two homes were destroyed in the blaze.

Mark Lapinsky, 47, was pronounced dead Tuesday at 11:26 a.m. at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood after being burned in his home in the 200 block of East Cermak Road in Braidwood, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

The blaze began at 2:38 a.m. April 6 in the 200 block of East Cermak Road in Braidwood, located about 20 miles south of Joliet, Braidwood Fire Chief Ken Heberer said.

When firefighters arrived, the home where the fire began was fully involved in flames and a second home “was well-involved,” Heberer said.

Braidwood Police Sgt. Michelle Soucie said early Wednesday authorities have determined the fire is “suspicious” in nature.

Soucie could not immediately say whether the incident has been deemed an act of arson, but said Braidwood police and the state Fire Marshal’s office are continuing to investigate the fire. Soucie would not say how the fire started.

Lapinsky, the owner of the home where the fire started, was initially taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet after he was burned in the blaze, according to the medical examiner’s office and fire officials. Lapinsky was later transferred to Loyola University Medical Center.

“It took us 45 minutes to get (the fire) under control and approximately two hours” before the fire was completely out, Heberer said. Fire personnel were on the scene until Nicor crews responded to dig up a gas line that needed to be shut off, Heberer said.

The blaze ultimately spread to four other structures, destroying the original home and one other home, he said. The two other homes were damaged by fire, but are livable, he said.

No one else was injured but the owner of the other home that was destroyed was displaced, Heberer said.