Oak Lawn house fire leaves one woman dead
By Casey Toner firstname.lastname@example.org February 8, 2014 8:56AM
Updated: April 10, 2014 3:27AM
An elderly Oak Lawn woman was found dead on her living room couch after a fire in her home early Saturday morning in the 10100 block of South Lawrence Court, authorities said.
Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets said the woman’s caretaker was discovered unconscious, lying in the hallway. She was revived and taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition.
“This is certainly a tragic situation,” Sheets said. “No one wants to experience this. It impacts the family, the neighbors, the firefighters and the community.”
The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the dead woman as Kathryn Lomec, 73. Police pronounced Lomec dead on the scene at 2:43 a.m., the medical examiner’s office said.
Sheets said firefighters responded to the fire at 2:42 a.m. in the single-story home. When firefighters arrived, heavy fire was blowing out of the living room window and they had to break through the front door to enter.
The fire was contained to the living room and extinguished quickly, and one firefighter suffered an elbow injury, Sheets said. Smoke alarms inside the home were not functioning.
Sheets said the cause of the fire is unknown and Oak Lawn fire investigators as well as the Illinois State Fire Marshal are investigating. Firefighters from Evergreen Park, Alsip, Hometown and the North Palos Fire Protection District responded to the fire.
A neighbor, Thomas Garrity, said he knew both of the house’s residents for about 30 years. He said they kept to themselves and he often would carry in their trash cans if they were left outside.
Garrity said he was sleeping when the fire started but the lights from the police cars and fire trucks woke him up. He said the woman’s husband previously had died, and she had children and grandchildren.
“It was a sad thing,” he said.
Sheets said the woman’s death was the first fire-related death he has seen in five years as fire chief. He said that Home Depot donated free working smoke detectors to the department, and Oak Lawn fire officials are willing to do home fire inspections and install free smoke detectors for village residents at no cost.