No Smoke Alarms in Apartment Where Grandmother, Grandchild Died

Fire officials said the blaze started in a bedroom just after 9 a.m.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fire officials said the two were sleeping in a third-floor apartment when the blaze started in a bedroom just after 9 a.m. at the home on the 2000 block of East 79th Street. Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013)

    There were no smoke alarms in the South Shore apartment where a grandmother and her 5-year-old granddaughter died Wednesday morning, officials said.

    Fire officials said the two were sleeping in a third-floor apartment when fire broke out in a bedroom just after 9 a.m. at the home on the 2000 block of East 79th Street.

    The fire was doused in minutes, but the woman, later identified as Suzette Dorsey, and her grandchild sustained "extremely critical" injuries. They were unconscious when they were taken from the apartment and pronounced dead at area hospitals.

    "The fire appeared to have started around the middle bedroom," Battalion Chief Tim Cronin said. "It had a burn through the door. There was fire coming down the hallway."

    An official said the fire started with an open flame, suggesting the child may have been playing with fire.

    A neighbor who made it out of the building said she didn't hear anything when she was roused from bed by smoke.

    "I woke up and I saw the smoke," Evelyn Johnson said. "I knew it wasn't where I needed to be."

    Police officers on Wednesday afternoon met with business owners below the apartments. 

    Other than the two victims who died from the fire, no one else was injured, said fire department spokesman Larry Langford.

    "There wasn’t that much fire," he said. The fire was contained to the one bedroom and there was "not a whole lot of flame [and] structural damage was minimal."