One year later: Cause of Des Plaines fire that killed mother, 4 daughters revealed
Two electrical cords that were improperly altered and connected are blamed for the fire.
A blaze that killed a Des Plaines woman and her four children one year ago was caused by two electrical cords that had been improperly altered and connected, a local fire official said Wednesday.
One cord was part of a space heater that had been the focus of the investigation from the start, said Division Chief Dave Schuman of Des Plaines’ fire prevention bureau. The other was a heavy-duty extension cord plugged into a wall outlet.
Killed in the Jan. 27, 2021, blaze were Cithlaly Zamudio, 25, and daughters Renata Espinosa, 6, Genesis Espinosa, 5, Allison Espinosa, 3, and Grace Espinosa, 1.
The fire occurred in the apartment building on the 700 block of West Oakton Street where the family lived. The building originally was a single-family house but had been converted into apartments.
The space heater was inside the family’s second-floor apartment near a stairway, Schuman said. The extension cord was plugged into an outlet in the kitchen, he added.
The fire, which began about 10 a.m., trapped the victims inside because there was no safe exit other than the stairs, officials said at the time.
Two other occupants of the building got out safely with help from police and a passerby, reports state.
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