ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Two elderly people were killed in a house fire in Arlington Heights Thursday.
First responders were called to the 1900 block of North Spruce Terrace around 8 a.m, according to police. A neighbor called 911 after seeing flames from the house next door.
Officers responded but were unable to enter the home because of heavy smoke and flames.
Firefighters arrived and entered the home. They located a 75-year-old man, later identified as Lew Smith, and a 72-year-old woman, later identified as Joanie Smith.
The couple was taken to the hospital were they were pronounced dead a short time later.
Family said it was the couple’s longtime home and the two were inseparable.
“Very rarely would they be a part,” said cousin Jen Kaufman. “Whether it was for meals, or going out pre-pandemic, they would always be together.”
Kaufman said they were married for over four decades. Several neighbors told WGNNews that the Smiths were the anchors of the block.
Kamil Wisniewski, a sophomore at DePaul, lived across the street and knew the couple his entire life.
““They used to always come over for holidays., like they didn’t celebrate the same holidays as us just because of religious difference, but they always came over, gave us gifts, checked in on us. If we were outside we would always talk every time we saw each other,” he said.
Firefighters continued to work the fire and it was brought under control around 8:45 a.m., police said. Neighboring fire departments from Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect and Palatine assisted in the effort.
The cause and source of the fire remains under investigation.