Fires sweeps Chicago home, killing elderly couple

Updated 11/27/2020 2:52 PM

CHICAGO -- Fire officials are investigating an overnight house fire on Chicago's northwest side that killed an elderly couple who became trapped as flames engulfed their residence.

The bodies of Robert Szalacha, 85, and his wife, Carol Szalacha, 78, were found inside their home Thursday night after firefighters doused the flames. The Cook County medical examiner's office pronounced them dead at the scene.


The couple's daughter was also inside the home in Chicago's Old Irving Park neighborhood, but she got out and refused medical attention, police and neighbors said, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The fire began about 9:20 p.m. on the home's first floor of the home and soon engulfed the building, Chicago Fire Department officials said.

Fire department spokesman Larry Langford said Carol Szalacha was using supplemental oxygen on the first floor and officials believe it was exposed to something flammable.

Deputy District Chief Brian McKermitt said crews 'œencountered heavy fire on the first floor' after receiving reports the couple was trapped. Firefighters had to retreat outside when the blaze 'œstarted intensifying."

Fire investigators continue investigating the cause of the house fire.

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