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Three Children, One Man Killed In 3-Alarm South Chicago Fire

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 23, 2016 2:15PM

Courtesy Chicago Fire Media
Three children and a man were killed in a three-alarm fire in a South Chicago apartment building early Tuesday morning.

A 3-year-old child and two girls, 4 and 6, died in the blaze, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told Chicagoist. The age of the adult male has not been determined, according to CFD. A person of interest is being held and questioned for the "suspicious" fire, according to police spokeswoman Officer Nicole Trainor.

The baby was found outside the apartment building, and appears to have been dropped or held by someone who leapt from an upper level, according to CFD. She suffered smoke inhalation and head injuries, but it has not been determined which caused her death. She was transported to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The two girls, age 4 and 6, were discovered in the same apartment. And the male adult victim, age unknown, was found in another apartment, according to CFD. One of the victim's family members told the Tribune that the young victims are Mellanie Watson, 3 months, Madison Watson, 4, and Shaniya Staples, 7.

Three additional adults were injured in the fire; and two firefighters were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center with minor injuries.

When crews arrived, the front and rear stairs had already burned away, CFD said. Several people were rescued by ladders and did not require medical attention.

Chicago Fire Department could not confirm whether or not evidence of accelerants had been found, but said investigators are looking into the possibility of arson.