A Chicago Fire Department official says the cause of the apartment fire that claimed the lives of 10 children remains a mystery.
Spokesman Larry Langford said the fire has been classified as “undetermined” but the department hopes an analysis by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives may provide clues as to how Sunday’s pre-dawn fire on the city’s Southwest Side started. He says investigators are also analyzing photographs of the building and the porch that were taken last year when firefighters extinguished a fire on the first floor.
Investigators have ruled out arson but they are trying to determine if it was caused by someone on the porch who set off fireworks or left behind a burning cigarette.
There were no working smoke alarms at the home.
Adrian Hernandez, 14, was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital in Chicago at 11:12 a.m. Tuesday. He was the 10th child who died as a result of the blaze.
All but two of the children died at the scene. Officials have released the names of those eight victims: 3-month-old Amaya Almaraz; Ariel Garcia, 5; Giovanni Monarrez, 10; Xavier Contreras, 11; Nathan Contreras, 13; Victor Mendoza, 16; Cesar Contreras, 14; and Adrian Hernandez, 14.
There were no adults home at the time of the fire, and the state Department of Children and Family Services has said it is looking into “allegations of neglect.”