Cook County Medical Examiner's office

‘Watched That Man Burned Alive': Horrified Neighbors Say They Tried to Save Man in Oak Lawn Blaze

Warning: Graphic details may be disturbing for some readers

It was a scene that will haunt Oak Lawn resident Tryston Radtke forever -- the moment he tried to save a man from a burning mobile home, but couldn't. 

"I couldn't do anything," Radtke told NBC 5 after the fatal fire blazed through two trailers in the Oak Lawn manufactured housing comunity at 90th and Cicero. "I tried to put my jacket over my head and go in through the deck to get through the fence but I couldn't get through. It was too hot." 

Radtke wasn't the only one who tried to help the screaming man. 

Before firefighters arrived, another group of neighbors ran around the back of the burning mobile homes to try and help. 

"He was saying, 'Help me,' repeatedly, 'I'm burning alive,'" said neighbor Gissel Madero. 

"His hair was engulfed and his face was kind of bubbling," said resident Justin Creighton.

But the flames were too intense, the residents said. 

"He was telling us, 'I'm on the other side of the fence,' He's like, 'Help, help.' Kept saying, 'help,'" Radtke said. "He's like, 'I'm right here.' Police were just standing there, to be honest with you.

"It's something I will never forget," Radtke added. "Him screaming for help." 

At least one person was killed and another left in "grave" condition following the fire early Thursday morning. 

According to authorities, the fire broke out at 90th and Cicero just before 2 a.m. 

Firefighters found one man injured outside a trailer and a second man was pulled out from inside another trailer, Oak Lawn's fire chief said. 

Both men were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center for treatment. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office confirmed one person later died, but further information wasn't immediately known.  

One area resident said there had been a birthday celebration at one of the trailers Wednesday night. 

"I was sleeping, my husband heard commotion and the house was in flames," said resident Kristin Serrano. "The neighbors were trying to wake everyone up to get out the house." 

Fire investigators were at the scene Thursday morning but the cause of the fire remained unknown. 

It is the second fatal blaze at the mobile home park in one month, according to reports.

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