Police say Inverness fire was intentional, but who set it remains unclear

  • Mario and Marlene Pieracci of Inverness were found dead Sunday after firefighters responded to a call at their burning home. Investigators believe one of the Pieraccis intentionally set the fire.

    Mario and Marlene Pieracci of Inverness were found dead Sunday after firefighters responded to a call at their burning home. Investigators believe one of the Pieraccis intentionally set the fire. Courtesy of Tom Kennedy

  • Police believe a fire that led to the discovery of an Inverness couple dead in their home Sunday was set intentionally, but by whom and why remains uncertain.

      Police believe a fire that led to the discovery of an Inverness couple dead in their home Sunday was set intentionally, but by whom and why remains uncertain. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/2/2021 5:37 PM

A fire that led to the discovery of an Inverness couple dead in their home Sunday was set intentionally by one of them, authorities said Tuesday.

The bodies of Mario Pieracci, 84, and Marlene Pieracci, 82, were recovered after firefighters were called to the burning home on the 200 block of Bradwell Road.

 

Mario Pieracci was found in the living area of the house and died of smoke inhalation, Inverness Police Chief Bob Haas said.

Marlene Pieracci, who was found inside a vehicle in the home's garage, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her death was ruled a suicide Monday by the Cook County medical examiner's office, which didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Haas said he met Tuesday with the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and the state fire marshal to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Investigators determined the fire was started intentionally by one of the Pieraccis in a bedroom at the rear of the house, he said, but it's not yet clear yet how or by whom.

"We're still trying to put the pieces together," Haas said. "We have a pretty good idea, but we are not totally sure yet."

The investigation's findings will determine whether Mario Pieracci's death is ruled a suicide or homicide, Haas said.

Inverness police had not responded to any calls at the Pieracci home since the police department was established in 2009, Haas said. He does not believe Barrington police, which provided law enforcement in Inverness before 2009, had any contacts with the couple.

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The Pieraccis had lived in the house for at least 40 years and were "the best neighbors anyone could have," next-door neighbor Tom Kennedy said Monday.

Mario Pieracci had retired about 20 years ago from his work as a house painter, and Marlene had been a homemaker. They raised two sons, who now live in California and Nevada, Kennedy said.

• Daily Herald staff writer Eric Peterson contributed to this report.

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