Vigil held for girls, man killed in fire

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CHICAGO – A vigil was held Friday night in the South Chicago neighborhood where four people, including three young girls, died in an apartment fire earlier this week.

Police have called the fire arson and are investigating.

It was emotional candlelight vigil for the victims.  The father of one of the girls killed thanked neighbors, family and friends for the outpouring of support.

“I would like to thank everyone once again for coming out and showing your support …  as we remember this day that we lost three very beautiful young ladies,” Shawn Staples said.

3-month-old Melanie Watson, 4-year-old Madison Watson and 7-year-old Shaniyah Staples,  all sisters,  as well as a 56-year-old Kirk Johnson died when the fire broke out Tuesday morning in the building at 81st and Essex on the city's Southeast Side.

Chicago police say they are questioning several “persons of interest.”

Forensic investigators who worked at the crime scene with specially trained dogs are now waiting for test results on physical evidence.

Investigators were able to determine that the fire was deliberately set, but released a person of interest after questioning him.

In the meantime, some residents were allowed to return to their apartments Friday to see if any of their belongings could be salvaged.  Other tenants are being kept away, because their units are too badly damaged to re-enter.