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4-year-old boy found dead after fire in vacant house in Englewood

A baby was found dead after a fire was extinguished in a vacant house Tuesday night in the 1400 block of West Marquette Road in Englewood, police said. | Network Video Productions

A 4-year-old boy was found dead after crews extinguished a fire at a vacant house Tuesday night in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.

Authorities responded to the fire in the 1400 block of West Marquette at 9:26 p.m., according to police and fire officials.

On Wednesday evening, the Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the boy as Manuel Aguilar, of the 6400 block of South Wolcott. The manner and cause of the boy’s death were still under investigation following an autopsy.

The firefighters smelled lighter fluid in a gangway and found a small fire in the basement of the vacant two-story house, authorities said.

They extinguished the blaze and then found the body in the debris, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said. The child was initially thought to be a girl between 9 months and 2 years old.

Langford said it appeared the child had been deceased for some time, and he was wrapped in a blanket or cloth bag.

The fire was intentionally set, Langford said.

Area South detectives were questioning three people in connection with the incident early Wednesday, police said. The Office of Fire Investigation and the police Bomb and Arson Unit also are investigating.