3 dead in Arlington Heights house fire

Interested in learning more about fire protection for your home?  Click here.

Three adults died when a fire broke out in a home in Arlington Heights overnight, according to authorities.

Emergency crews were called to the two-story brick house in the 300 block of South Dunton Avenue around 3:20 a.m., Police Cmdr. Mike Hernandez said. The call was prompted by a police sergeant who smelled smoke while driving in the area.

It wasn't clear if there were any other injuries.

Officials say three people died in an overnight house fire in the 200 block of S. Dunton Ave in Arlington Heights. Officials say three people died in an overnight house fire in the 200 block of S. Dunton Ave in Arlington Heights.

"At this point in time ... we haven't completed the search of the building yet to determine if there's any other victims," Fire Chief Glenn Ericksen said around 6:45 a.m.

Police had been in the area, but by the time firefighters arrived, the fire had spread through the single-family home, Ericksen said. There were no smoke detectors sounding when responders arrived, though the fire department said it wasn't clear if smoke alarms were present.

As crews were arriving, part of the building collapsed.

"It collapsed right when we arrived, a portion of the rear on the second floor," Ericksen said.

Responding firefighters found a female victim in a downstairs bedroom who they removed from the burning house through a window. She was pronounced dead at the scene, the fire officials said.

Two other victims were located inside and were also pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators from the Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office and the Arlington Heights fire and police departments were on the scene, a standard response for fatal fires, Hernandez said.

"We still have to do a lot of debris removal before they can get down to find the seat and cause of the fire," Ericksen said.

The fire didn't spread to neighboring buildings and no firefighters were hurt.

Neighboring fire departments helped, either with the fire or covering the firehouses of Arlington Heights crews that were working, Ericksen said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office was sending an investigator to the scene.

It's still unknown where or how the fire started, but the most extensive damage is to the back of the three-bedroom house. One corner of the second floor has collapsed, said Arlington Heights Police Capt. Richard Niedrich.

Police said they have not yet been able to identify two of the three victims; authorities have not released any of their names yet and aren't sure if they were related.

Hernandez declined to discuss the condition of the two unknown bodies and said he didn't know where exactly they were found in the house.

Police are now treating the fire as a death investigation. Arson investigators and crime scene technicians are conducting a full review, but Hernandez said it was standard procedure for all fatal fires.

"Right now, there is nothing pointing to us that it's obviously suspicious, that shows it's suspicious," Hernandez said. "It's a death investigation until we know more, until we know the origin of the fire, the cause."

Jim Hickey, 83, lives in the neighborhood but said he didn't personally know the residents of the house. He said the incident was terrible and called his community quiet and a normal suburb full of families.


Story provided by:  chicagotribune.com