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Woman Killed In House Fire In NW Indiana

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GLEN PARK, Ind. (STMW) – An elderly woman was killed and her husband and grandson suffered severe burns when a fire broke out early Sunday morning in their home in Glen Park, Ind.

Firefighters were called to the house in the 4000 block of Louisiana Street at 6:42 a.m. after the woman’s daughter awoke in the basement and was overcome by smoke, the Post-Tribune is reporting.

Essie Crockett Hill, 71, was pronounced dead after she was transported to the Methodist Hospitals Southlake, Gary Deputy Fire Chief Mark Jones said. Paramedics performed CPR on 64-year-old Daniel Hill at the scene before airlifting him to Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, where he is in critical condition. Their grandson Cody Page, 9, is being treated at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, where he is in stable condition.

Page’s mother Sereta Page was treated at the scene, but is currently at the side of her ailing son, according to family members.

“I don’t think it’s hit Sereta yet what happened to her mother,” said Leora Carr, who is Essie Hill’s sister.

Neighbor Aneatrice Smith Stines said she was asleep when her daughter alerted her that the house across the street was on fire.

“There were flames coming out the front and side of the house and smoke everywhere,” Smith said. “I went inside to get my jacket and when I came back out, (Sereta) was outside. It was horrible, a sad sight to see them bringing them out of the house.”

Smith said Page was unable to get access to the front bedrooms to help her parents and son out. A portion of the home’s roof was torn out to help battle the fire.

Fire investigators have not established the cause of the fire yet, but Gary Police Department arson investigator Sgt. Mark Salazar said they have ruled out arson.

Carr said the Hills lived at the ranch one-story house with light green siding for at least 12 years. Essie Hill was one of 15 children who was raised in Gary and her mother is still living.

Carr and her husband stopped by the boarded up house Sunday morning to “take one last look.” Essie Hill worked as a bus driver for the Gary Community School Corp., but after she retired in 1993, her health started to decline. She used an oxygen tank, as did her husband, and she was in a wheelchair, Carr said.

“(Essie) was very cheerful and she kept us all smiling,” Carr said. “We would talk about the good old days.”

The Hills had three sons and a daughter, but one son died about three years ago.

Smith said her neighbors were nice and pretty quiet.

“It’s heartbreaking for the whole neighborhood,” Smith said. “They were very loving parents. I just want them to know they are in our hearts and prayers go out to them.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)