Maine Twp. deaths appear to be carbon monoxide: sheriff

  • Emergency responders in front of the home on Harrison Street Thursday afternoon.

    Emergency responders in front of the home on Harrison Street Thursday afternoon. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The scene in front of the house on the 9400 block of Harrison Street in Maine Township was quieter on Friday.

      The scene in front of the house on the 9400 block of Harrison Street in Maine Township was quieter on Friday. Erin Hegarty | Staff Photographer

  • The Kim's church, Chicago Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Glenview.

      The Kim's church, Chicago Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Glenview. Melissa Silverberg | Staff Photographer

  • Firefighters wear protective suits to go into the house on Thursday, after determining it was a hazardous materials situation.

    Firefighters wear protective suits to go into the house on Thursday, after determining it was a hazardous materials situation. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Members of the Kim family's church stepped into help run the family's business, Signature A-1 Cleaners, after the shop owners died. David Ser, right, deacon at Chicago Covenant Presbyterian Church in Glenview, gives customer George Anderson his dry cleaning order Friday.

      Members of the Kim family's church stepped into help run the family's business, Signature A-1 Cleaners, after the shop owners died. David Ser, right, deacon at Chicago Covenant Presbyterian Church in Glenview, gives customer George Anderson his dry cleaning order Friday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The Kim family ran Signature A-1 Cleaners at 359 W. Irving Park Road in Wood Dale.

      The Kim family ran Signature A-1 Cleaners at 359 W. Irving Park Road in Wood Dale. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • John Tae Kim and his wife. John Tae and his son died at their home; his wife remained at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Friday.

    John Tae Kim and his wife. John Tae and his son died at their home; his wife remained at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Friday. Courtesy OF ABC 7 Chicago

 
 
Updated 8/31/2015 3:33 PM
The name of one of the dead men has been corrected from a previous version of this story. The correct name is Hong Kyu Kim.

Carbon monoxide apparently killed a father and son in Maine Township this week and critically injured the wife, the Cook County Sheriff's Police said Friday afternoon.

The sheriff's department released a statement saying Hong Kyu Kim, 53, and John Tae Kim, 83, appear to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning and that their deaths appear to be accidental.

 

However, police are still investigating the source of the carbon monoxide and are attempting to determine when the men died, sheriff's spokeswoman Sophia Ansari said later.

The men were pronounced dead Thursday in their home on the 9400 block of Harrison Street in unincorporated Maine Township, near Des Plaines. A woman, identified as the wife of John Tae Kim and the mother of Hong Kyu Kim, was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where she remains in critical condition.

They have not released her name.

The Kim family ran Signature A-1 Cleaners at 359 W. Irving Park Road in Wood Dale. Other shop owners in the center said the cleaners was unexpectedly closed for several days leading up to Thursday, which could have some bearing on when the deaths occurred.

Eventually, someone called the Wood Dale police, who checked the store and called the Kims' pastor at Chicago Covenant Presbyterian Church in Glenview.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Thursday afternoon, members of the congregation went to the Kims' house, finding it surrounded by police tape.

On Friday, members of the church were keeping the dry cleaners open in the wake of the tragedy.

Paul Kwak, a church elder, said John Tae Kim leaned on him for business advice in recent weeks because Kwak himself runs a dry cleaners in Arlington Heights.

Kim called him about two weeks ago "because he was struggling" to keep the business afloat, Kwak said.

"They couldn't run the business. They couldn't survive it," Kwak said.

John Tae Kim, a retired English teacher, operated the dry cleaners from the Wood Dale strip mall for nine years. Customers said he came to work every day, often working more than 12 hours a day, and was determined to keep it up even though he suffered a stroke several years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He was a character," said George Anderson, a Wood Dale resident and longtime customer who came to pick up clothes Friday afternoon. "I always said, 'John Kim' and he would always call my name back to me and we always laughed about whatever was going on. He was just one of those characters."

Kim frequently read his Korean newspaper or the Bible in the shop and was particularly proud of the crown of thorns plant growing in the store, Anderson said.

Members of the Kims' church plan to keep the doors open at the dry cleaners for about another week to allow customers to pick up their items. Those who don't will get phone calls to come in, Kwak said.

Meanwhile, police said they were called to the Kims' house in Maine Township Thursday by a phone call from a family member but have not identified who that is.

The situation quickly became a hazardous materials case, as the first four sheriff's deputies in the house developed difficulty breathing and were all briefly hospitalized, Ansari said.

On Friday, North Maine Fire Chief Rick Dobrowski said the deputies, who got there first, went into the house and opened up windows and doors. Seven firefighters went inside shortly afterward and together they discovered the woman, in critical condition but breathing.

They got her out, but soon after all four deputies started having trouble breathing. The fire department ordered everybody out of the house, and the hazardous materials team was called.

Investigators did not go back inside until shortly before 7 p.m., when hazardous materials crews determined the situation was no longer dangerous.

The two-story townhouse in Maine Township is part of a five-unit building near Harrison Street and Dee Road, across from Apollo Elementary School.

All of the neighboring units were safely evacuated on Thursday, and residents were allowed to return to their homes before 8 p.m., authorities said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office conducted autopsies on the two men Friday.

• Daily Herald staff writers Christopher Placek, Lee Filas, Jake Griffin, Sara Hooker and Doug T. Graham contributed to this report.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.