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Man dies of smoke inhalation from Far South Side dryer fire

The scene after a dog and man were pulled from a burning home in the Morgan Park neighborhood near 117th and Justine. | Justin Jackson/ Sun-Times

A man whose dryer caught on fire Saturday morning at his Far South Side home has died of complications from inhaling smoke during the blaze.

Firefighters responded about 4:20 a.m. to the fire at 11754 S. Justine in the West Pullman neighborhood, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

First responders rescued 48-year-old Steven Henley from the house and took him for treatment, Langford and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Henley died Monday afternoon at Rush University Medical Center, the medical examiner’s office said. An autopsy Tuesday found he died of complications from the inhalation of products of combustion, with heart disease and diabetes listed as contributing factors. His death was ruled an accident.

A buildup of lint in the dryer that ignited was believed to be the cause, Langford said.

Firefighters returned to the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon to distribute safety information, according to Fire Media Affairs.

Langford said that a dryer’s lint trap should be cleaned after each use, but he also recommended a through cleaning of the exhaust system at least once a year.

In addition to preventing fires, an annual exhaust cleaning will reduce heating bills, Langford said. Supplies are sold at many home improvement stores.