Authorities ID one of two men found dead in ‘suspicious’ Garfield Ridge fire

SHARE Authorities ID one of two men found dead in ‘suspicious’ Garfield Ridge fire

At least one of the two men found dead in a swift-moving fire Saturday morning in Garfield Ridge lived in the Southwest Side home where arson blaze was set, authorities said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office on Sunday identified the 28-year-old man found near a front window on the second floor of the home in the 5200 block of South Lorel as Joseph Vela. The house was listed as his home address.

The other fatality — a 63-year-old man found on the first floor near a back door, according to fire officials — was still unknown Sunday night, a medical examiner’s office spokesman said.

Autopsies for both men on Sunday were inconclusive pending further investigation.

The younger man appeared to have been “trying to get out the window,” Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that investigators think an accelerant was used in the blaze, which started about 9:30 a.m. 

A police source on Saturday said the 28-year-old man had documented gang ties.

No working smoke detectors were found inside the house.

A number of children’s toys were found in the front yard of the home, but the child who apparently lives there was staying elsewhere Friday night, Langford said.

Chicago Police and fire investigators, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Illinois State Fire Marshal are investigating, Langford said.

Authorities investigate after two men were found dead following a “suspicious” Garfield Ridge fire. | Fire Media Afairs

Authorities investigate after two men were found dead following a “suspicious” Garfield Ridge fire. | Fire Media Afairs


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