CHICAGO — An 85-year-old man and 78-year-old woman are dead after a house fire in the Old Irving Park neighborhood Thursday night.
Police said they received a call of a fire at approximately 9:20 p.m. Thursday on the 4200 block of North Kildare Avenue. Firefighters found heavy fire on the first floor upon arrival, and knew there were people inside.
Brian McKermitt, 2nd District Deputy District Chief, said the initial fire had to be under control before entering the house and saving anyone inside.
First responders discovered Robert Szalacha, 85, and Carol Szalacha, 78, deceased inside the residence.
People who live along Kildare Avenue in Old Irving Park woke up to the news that their neighbors for decades are gone.
“We’ve lived down the street from them for probably over 60 years,” neighbor Tom Keith said.
Keith said the couple had a fire at the home several years ago, and rehabilitated the home afterwards, planting a garden as well.
Police said a 61-year-old female was also inside the residence and survived, but refused medical attention at the scene.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, and the incident is under investigation.