Afternoon Edition: Jan. 28, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Firefighters at the site of the house fire in Des Plaines where four sisters and their mother died on Wednesday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be sunny and chilly with a high near 24 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 12 degrees. Tomorrow, more sunshine is in the forecast; the high will be near 29 degrees.

Top story

Space heater is suspected cause of fire that killed 4 children, mom in Des Plaines

A space heater likely caused a fire that killed a mother and her four young children yesterday in Des Plaines.

That’s the assessment of city fire officials, whose preliminary investigation shows the blaze started at the top of the stairs to a second-floor unit — the only exit from the unit where the family was found.

There were no working smoke detectors on the second floor, Des Plaines spokeswoman Jennie Vana said in a statement. Initial findings don’t point to foul play and the investigation is now focused on how the heater might have ignited the fire, she said.

The fire started in the two-story duplex yesterday morning in the 700 block of Oakton Street, Fire Chief Daniel Anderson said.

Four sisters were pulled from the home and taken to a hospital, where they died. They were identified as Grace Espinosa, 1, Allizon V. Espinosa, 3, Genesis A. Espinosa, 5, and Renata P. Espinosa, 6. Their mother, Citahaly Zamiodo, 25, died at the scene.

The father was at work at the time of the fire, a neighbor said.

The 104-year-old home, which was destroyed by the fire, was divided into four apartments before it was annexed into the city in 1973, Vana said.

The property had a “long history” of property maintenance code enforcement violations after resident and neighbor complaints. Des Plaines also issued a violation to the property owner, Manuel Espinoza, for operating a landscaping business from the house against zoning laws, Vana said.

The building did not have any pending building code violations at the time of the fire.

Read David Struett’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. Five hundred Illinois National Guard members are being sent to D.C. for a “security mission” at the U.S. Capitol after the attack by pro-Trump supporters that occurred earlier this month. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the deployment is expected to last until mid-March.
  2. Nearly 56,000 more Illinois residents received the COVID-19 vaccine, health officials said today, bringing the state total to 829,428 shots administered so far. About 1.1 million residents have been infected over the past year, and 19,067 have died.
  3. Federal prosecutors say they’ve caught a Chicago investment manager who allegedly fled to Indonesia after being charged with scamming women he met online and others out of at least $500,000. U.S. Marshals found Marcus Beam, 50, in Bali and detained him last July, prosecutors said.
  4. A group of tenants is refusing to leave a Little Village building where they reside even as the owner is moving to demolish the property. Marcos Hernandez, one of five Mexican immigrant musicians living in the building, says they have no plans to leave without a court order.
  5. Four Red Line stations on the North Side are set to undergo complete makeovers this spring to widen their platforms and add elevators and escalators. The station upgrades — at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr — are part of the $4.7 billion modernization project.
  6. Denzel Washington and Rami Malek are “electric” in the soon-to-be-released moody L.A. thriller “The Little Things,” our Richard Roeper writes. Read his full review of the movie, which comes out tomorrow on HBO Max and theaters around the country.
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A bright one

Old tiger gets new hip at Brookfield Zoo

Under different circumstances, “Malena” might have chomped someone’s arm yesterday.

But not living in the wild, the middle-aged Amur tiger instead pressed her dodgy hip against the wire mesh of her enclosure and submitted to the poke of a needle. A little while later, the woozy, 250-pound tiger was being wheeled on a gurney into Brookfield Zoo’s animal hospital for hip replacement surgery.

She was in capable hands. Dr. James Cook, a veterinarian from the University of Missouri, has performed “thousands” of animal orthopedic surgeries — from repairing the fractured arm of a possum weighing less than a pound to performing arthroscopic surgery on an African elephant.

Malena came to Brookfield last June. She’s 10 years old, and her joints are beginning to show their age. She’s previously been diagnosed with arthritis.

The surgery, it’s hoped, will knock out the pain and make Malena feel young-ish again.

“If we can get this joint back to normal, she should really have a full life,” Cook said.

Read Stefano Esposito’s full story on Malena’s procedure here.

From the press box

Texans star Deshaun Watson formally requested a trade weeks ago, according to reports, which puts one of the most talented passers in the game firmly on the market. It’s a long shot for the Bears, but they should go all-out to try to get Watson, Jason Lieser writes.

While the Cubs may be cutting costs on the field, there’s no more expensive MLB team to go see in person, according to a cost survey of the 30 big league franchises. The White Sox ranked 12th.

And the Sky made a big splash last night by adding two-time WNBA MVP and two-time Olympic gold medalist Candace Parker to a team that’s made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Watch out for the Sky next season.

Your daily question☕

With all the news about GameStop lately, did you invest any extra money into the stock market this week?

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: Do you agree with Baseball Hall of Fame voters’ decision not to induct anyone in this year’s class? Here’s what some of you said...

“It used to be you needed to have 300 wins or 3000 strikeouts as a pitcher. The hitters needed 500 homers or 3000 hits. All of these players either didn’t hit these marks or did on steroids.” — Chris Rocco

“Why not induct some Negro Leaguers who MLB has not given their just due?” — Torrance D. Abrams Sr.

“Yes, because the potential inductees were part of the generation of steroid use and “juicing.” And especially [Sammy] Sosa, corking his bats!” — Charles Wood

“I am somewhat unhappy with the voters’ decision. I was hoping a player or two to be elected into the 2021 Hall of Fame, but not this time, how sad.” — Mahin Choudhury

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