Updated 02/21/13 – 9:26 a.m.

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CHICAGO (STMW) — Two women found dead inside a burning Chatham neighborhood building were stabbed to death before the building was intentionally set on fire, authorities said.

Firefighters found the bodies of Curtria Duncan, 24, and Cherie Adams, 42, with stab wounds after entering the burning building, according to authorities. It is unknown if the two women lived in the building in the 8100 block of South Maryland Avenue.

The fire, which started about 3:45 p.m., was quickly extinguished, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

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When firefighters found Duncan and Adams dead inside they called police, Langford said.

Police said the two were found dead in a bathroom, and each was stabbed multiple times.

Area South detectives are investigating the deaths as homicides and have opened an arson investigation, police said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)