Authorities: One woman dead in Oak Lawn house fire

Authorities: One woman dead in Oak Lawn house fire

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Crews investigate a house that caught fire in Oak Lawn.  (Photo from NVP News Video) Crews investigate a house that caught fire in Oak Lawn. (Photo from NVP News Video)
OAK LAWN, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

An elderly Oak Lawn woman was found dead on her living room couch following a fire in her home early Saturday morning in the 10100 block of South Lawrence Court, the SouthtownStar is reporting.

Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets said the woman's caretaker was discovered unconscious, lying in the hallway. She was revived and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition.

"This is certainly a tragic situation," Sheets said. "No one wants to experience this. It impacts the family, the neighbors, the firefighters and the community."

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the dead woman as 73-year-old Kathryn Lomec. She was dead at the scene, the medical examiner's office said.

Sheets said firefighters responded to the fire at 2:42 a.m. in the single-story home. When firefighters arrived, heavy fire was blowing out of the living room window and they had to break through the front door to enter.

The fire was extinguished quickly and contained to the living room, and one firefighter suffered an elbow injury, Sheets said. Smoke alarms inside the home were not functioning.

Sheets said the cause of the fire is unknown and Oak Lawn fire investigators as well as the Illinois State Fire Marshall are investigating. Firefighters from Evergreen Park, Alsip, Hometown and North Palos Fire Protection District responded to the fire.

A neighbor, Thomas Garrity, said he knew both of the house's residents for about 30 years. He said they kept to themselves and he would often carry in their trash cans if they were left outside.

Garrity said he was sleeping when the fire started but the lights from the police cars and fire trucks woke him up. He said the elderly woman's husband had previously died, and she had children and grandchildren.

"It was a sad thing," he said.

Sheets said the woman's death was the first fire-related death he had seen in five years as fire chief. He said that Home Depot donated free working smoke detectors to the department and Oak Lawn fire officials are willing to do home fire inspections and install free smoke detectors for village residents at no cost.

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