Fatal Oak Lawn Fire Under Investigation As ‘Potential Intentional Act’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police and the Illinois State Fire Marshal are investigating a deadly fire at a trailer park in southwest suburban Oak Lawn.

One man was killed and another was critically injured in the blaze that destroyed two mobile homes at the Airway Manufactured Housing Community at 90th and Cicero.

Oak Lawn police said they are investigating the possibility the fire was intentionally set.

“Information that we talked to with witnesses and other residents of the trailer court indicated that we should activate the major crimes task force, and we are looking at that as a possibility, yes,” Oak Lawn Police Chief Michael Murray said. “We are looking at it as a possible intentional act.”

Oak Lawn firefighters arrived at the trailer park around 1:45 a.m., and flames already were raging in two mobile homes. Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets said a Hometown police officer who happened to be nearby had pulled up to the scene a short time earlier, and pulled one man out of one of the trailers.

That man later was pronounced dead.

Sheets said the fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes, and firefighters pulled a second man out of the same trailer as the first man after the fire was out.

“When we found him, he did not have a pulse. He was not breathing, but through our advanced life support measures, we were able to get a pulse back,” Sheets said.

That man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition. He has since been transferred to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Both trailers were destroyed in the blaze.

Authorities provided few details on what led them to believe the fire might have been intentional.

“There were some early activity there, and I can’t go into specific detail as to that, but there was some activity earlier that evening,” Sheets said.

Sheets said the blaze was the second deadly fire at the trailer park in less than a month. A 64-year-old woman died after a fire in her mobile home on May 9. Sheets said that fire appears to have been the result of smoking, and the two deadly fires at Airway appear to be coincidental.

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