Girl, Grandmother Die In South Shore Blaze
Updated 04/03/13 – 3:22 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A 5-year-old girl and her grandmother were killed in a fire in the South Shore neighborhood Wednesday morning.
Firefighters responded to a fire in an apartment on the top floor of a three-story building at 2042 E. 79th St. around 9:20 a.m.
Firefighters believe the little girl who lived with her grandmother in the third floor may have started the blaze while playing with a lighter.
Two people were initially reported in “extremely critical” condition, but were later pronounced dead. A 5-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s hospital, and a 41-year-old woman was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports a relative identified the victims as 41-year-old Suzette Dorsey and her 5-year-old granddaughter.
The relative said Dorsey suffered from some health issues, and could not work, and had not lived in the apartment long.
Tonya Brooks, who lives across the hall from the victims, said the girl who died was “a sweet little girl.”
“You know, I love kids, so I spoke with her a couple of times,” she said. “I’ve spoken a little bit of kid jargon, you know, ‘Are you taking good care of your mommy,’ you know, because at that point I thought that that was her daughter, but I found out today that that was her granddaughter.”
Charlene Baptiste was getting her hair done at the beauty salon on the first floor of the building when the fire started. She said she smelled smoke, and everyone left the shop, then saw crews bringing the victims out.
“They brought the lady out on a stretcher, but they was carrying the little girl,” she said. “The little girl … she looked limp, like no life was in her.”
“Hoss” Edwards from the Black Angels Motorcycle Club came to fire scene and stared in disbelief. Suzette Dorsey was a social member of the club and helped with their fund raising.
“Suzy Q’ as we called her, was a very lovely person and liked to have fun,” Edwards said. “She was pretty much the life of the party when she was around.” Edwards said he “already” misses her.
Chicago Fire investigators say there were no working fire detectors in the apartment.
The National Fire Protection Association says that about 66 percent of the fire deaths in the US each year, happen in homes unprotected by working detectors.