Woman and 5-year-old girl killed in South Side fire - New York News

Woman and 5-year-old girl killed in South Side fire

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Fire officials say no smoke alarms were found in the South Shore neighborhood home where a Wednesday morning fire claimed the life of a woman and her 5-year-old granddaughter.

Family members identified the victims as Suzette Dorsey, 42, and Alana Dorsey.

Police said the girl had apparently been playing with a lighter about 10 a.m. The open flame ignited "some cloth material" in a bedroom, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

The fire engulfed the third-story apartment in the 2000 block of East 79th Street.

Black smoke billowed from the two-bedroom apartment, the fire cracking windows. Suzette and Alana were overcome by smoke and fire officials said they were in cardiac arrest when they were rushed to area hospitals.

Suzette Dorsey was taken to Jackson Park Hospital, where she soon died. Her granddaughter was carried out in the arms of a fireman and died at an area hospital.

Her husband, Alonzo Dorsey, said he and his wife of 23 years had lived in the apartment for just a few months. He described his wife as caring and very outgoing, and his granddaughter as "fun loving, loved to play games."

"She loved school," Alonzo Dorsey said. "She would just play every game, Sesame Street, learning games."

Tonya Brooks was riding the No. 79 CTA bus just a block away when she noticed the smoke billowing from her apartment building and panicked. She was worried that her 72-year-old mother was inside and ran to the building only to learn that her mother was fine, but her neighbors had been killed.

"They were really, really nice people," Brooks, 53, said. "I spoke with the lady all the time."

Brooks said Suzette Dorsey had suffered health setbacks but was always in good spirits. She often saw her and her granddaughter in the hallway outside her apartment.

Although the cause remained under investigation, officials said there were no smoke detectors in the Dorseys' apartment. Brooks said the building's owner had regularly checked the dual smoke and carbon monoxide detector in her apartment.

The building's owner declined to comment on Wednesday.

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