The Illinois State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of a house fire that killed a pregnant EMT a day before Thanksgiving.
Melissa Lamesch, 27, was an EMT in Tinley Park. According to family, Lamesch had just moved back to Mt. Morris from Oak Forest a few months ago to be closer to relatives. She was on maternity leave from her job at Trace Ambulance in Tinley Park where she had worked since 2017.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked the house fire last Wednesday on South Hannah Avenue. Neighbors reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the home. Firefighters found Lamesch unresponsive on the kitchen floor.
“I got a phone call while I was at work from my dad," said Lamesch's brother, Karl. “He called me up. He's like, 'The house is on fire. Please tell me you heard from Melissa today.' And I hadn't heard from her. We all just tried calling her like crazy.”
But deep down, Karl Lamesch knew his sister was gone. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her family are desperate for answers. They want to know what caused the deadly house fire.
“We’re kinda just still in the dark,” Karl Lamesch said. “We all want answers and we want closure, but it’s not always the time frame that we hope for.”
The Ogle County coroner said it could take several more weeks before it's known what caused Melissa’s death. The coroner is waiting for toxicology and other lab results to come back.
Lamesch was having her first child, a boy. Her brother said she was so excited and nervous at the same time.
“I spent the entire day with her the day before,” he said. “She was just fine, was like happy as she can be. She was supposed to have the baby two days later.”
“We were like getting last-minute things ready, talking about what she needed for her bag,” he said. “We were hanging the ultrasound pictures above the baby’s crib.”
A spokesperson for Trace Ambulance told NBC 5 everyone is saddened and shocked by her death and that she had an impact on her coworkers and her patients.
“She could talk to anyone and talk to anyone for hours,” said Karl Lamesch. “I mean it was just like in her blood to deal with people and talk with people. She had one of those smiles you could never forget.”
Family, friends, and coworkers are hoping to raise money to help pay for her funeral, setting up a GoFundMe page called "Melissa Lamesch Memorial Fund," and also hope to use the money to plant a tree in her memory at Morton Arboretum.