The death of a man whose body was found in the rubble three months after fire ravaged a building in the West Side North Lawndale neighborhood prompted an internal review by the Chicago Fire Department.
The fire was reported about 7 a.m. Jan. 9 in a two-story building in the 1100 block of South Francisco, according to Fire Media Affairs. It started on the back porch and was extinguished less than an hour later.
At the time, Fire Media said no injuries were reported. But three months later, the body of 57-year-old Curtis Green was discovered about 3 a.m. April 8, Fire Media and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said this week.
Green had been reported missing to Chicago Police. His daughter had dropped him off at a church at 2836 W. Roosevelt on Jan. 8, the day before the fire, and he was never seen again, police said.
Green, whose home address was listed as south suburban Riverdale, died of heroin toxicity, and inhalation of products of combustion due to a porch fire was listed a contributing factor, according to an autopsy conducted by the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.
“Despite multiple searches by both the fire department and the police department, along with a cadaver canine, CFD now believes they missed Mr. Green,” Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said in a statement Wednesday.
“Mr. Green was found in a room that was not the origin or initial spread of the fire, and there was about two feet of clothing and debris above the body.”
Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago ordered an internal review after the discovery, Langford said. Each fire company involved was interviewed; the scenario was reviewed; and training occurred to minimize the chances of it happening again by ensuring “all searches are as exhaustive as possible,” Langford said.
“The social position of any person needing help from the Fire Department has no bearing on the vigor employed in a search,” Langford said.
“CFD works hard to prevent fire deaths and we try to work just as hard to get to victims of fire. Tragically we were not successful this time. The crews who worked that fire and the department as a whole are saddened by the loss.”