Authorities say there was no adult supervision in a West Englewood neighborhood home where two children died in a fire early Saturday. Fire officials found that a hot plate being used for heat caused the fatal fire.
A resident who called 911 just before 3:30 a.m. told authorities young children were trapped inside the burning home in the 6400 block of South Paulina Street, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.
“Everybody concentrated and made a frantic search to find them,” said Langford.
But “extensive” fire made it difficult for firefighters to get into the rear bedroom where the flames started -- the same room where the children were located.
Firefighters used a saw to cut the bars off a basement window to try and reach the children, but were unable to rescue 3-year-old Jariyah Meakens and her 2-year-old brother, Javaris, authorities said.
A relative was out of the home before crews arrived and was not hurt, officials said.
Chicago Fire Department officials initially thought a space heater may have caused the fire, but determined Saturday morning a hot place being used for heat sparked the flames. The house had no gas service, Langford said.
Fire investigators have also learned that there was no adult supervision in the home at the time of the fire, according to Fire Media Affairs. Chicago police are now investigating this aspect of the fire.
Crews have not found any working smoke detectors in the home, Langford said. The Chicago Fire Department will canvass the neighborhood starting at 10 a.m. to pass out smoke alarms and share fire safety information.
The fire left substantial damage to the basement and first floor of the two-story greystone building, and the home is uninhabitable. It was not yet clear early Saturday how many residents were displaced by the blaze.
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