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Tinley Park fire victim remembered by son, neighbor

Updated: August 8, 2013 7:11AM



The son of a 74-year-old Tinley Park woman who was killed in a Friday morning fire described her as a “great mom.”

Katherine Siemiontkowski, of the 6400 block of Pine Trail Drive, was found by firefighters who responded to the fire at a four-unit condominium complex at 10:47 a.m., authorities said. She was pronounced dead at South Suburban Hospital at 11 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Firefighters put out the second-floor fire, which was contained to the bedroom in which it started, and found the victim lying in front of a chair in the bedroom, Tinley Park Fire Department officials said.

“She had a lot of grandkids. I loved her, and it’s unfortunate it happened,” said Donald Siemiontkowski, of Wisconsin.

Donald Siemiontkowski said his mother had two other sons as well as two daughters. He declined further comment, saying the family still was grieving her loss.

Marilyn Schober, who has lived in the condo opposite of Siemiontkowski for eight years, described her as a “very good neighbor” who would invite her in for tea whenever she would knock on her door.

Schober said that her condominium was part of the Southern Pines Condominium Association, which represents more than 55 Tinley Park condominiums for retirees ages 55 and older. She said she was sleeping when the fire started and was awoken by her ringing phone, followed by a Tinley Park firefighter pounding on the door.

Schober said the firefighter pushed her door open, took her outside and put her in an ambulance for a checkup. She was not injured in the fire.

“I was scared to death,” Schober said, adding that she could smell smoke in her condominium complex. “They had their masks on and they said there was a fire in the building and they said, ‘you have to come out right now.’ ”

Officials said two other residents got out of the building without help and also were unhurt.

Officials said Siemiontkowski’s bedroom was the only room to sustain fire damage, although the first floor had some water damage because of efforts to put out the second-floor fire.

The fire department said the cause of the fire still is under investigation. Because it resulted in a fatality, the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office is assisting in the investigation, according to the news release.

Schober said she would check in on Siemiontkowski from time to time and called her a “very kind nice lady.”

“It was a horrible thing,” Schober said.



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