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3 people die in River Grove house fire, deadliest blaze in the west suburb in decades

Three family members died and a fourth person was hospitalized, authorities said.

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Three people died and another was injured in a wind-whipped house fire in west suburban River Grove Wednesday morning.

The fire began in a garage and spread to the rest of home around 7:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Grove Street, River Grove Fire Chief Sean Flynn said.

Three family members died inside the home: Michelle Owrey, 28, and John Owrey, 61, on the second floor, and Marilyn Owrey Hennig, 91, on the first, according to Flynn and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The bodies were badly burned when firefighters entered the home and found them around 10:30 a.m., Flynn said.

A 56-year-old man who escaped and suffered smoke inhalation was taken to Loyola University Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized.

Firefighters struggled with high wind and frozen hydrants, Flynn said. He said it was one of the deadliest fires in River Grove he could recall.

“I’m in my 27th year in the department... But unfortunately it’s been a long time since we’ve had more than one victim. Normally we don’t get fires like this,” Flynn said.

Last year, 49-year-old Krzysztof Walasek died in a River Grove apartment fire that displaced more than two dozen people.

The state fire marshal was assisting in investigating the cause of Wednesday’s fire.

It was unclear if there was a working smoke detector in the home.