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Arson suspected in South Side blaze that killed mom, injured 8-year-old

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Updated: October 23, 2013 6:56AM

Just a few days ago, Michelle Jackson was celebrating her little nephew’s eighth birthday.

But Saturday, young Jovan Perkins was in critical condition at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, gravely injured in a “suspicious” fire that claimed the life of his mother, 28-year-old Millicent Brown-Johnson.

“She was a loving mother,” Jackson said of her sister. “A loving wife. A loving sister who cared for family.”

Brown-Johnson had worked at the American Girl Place on North Michigan Avenue for about seven years, Jackson said, and she was working toward a physical therapy degree at Chicago State University.

Jovan turned 8 Tuesday, Jackson said.

Brown-Johnson’s husband was working at his job as a package handler for United Parcel Service at the time of the fire, according to Jackson, who said he’s “devastated.”

The extra-alarm fire started around 1:45 a.m. in a three-story, three-unit apartment building in the 11200 block of South King Drive in Roseland where Brown-Johnson lived.

Firefighters arrived to find flames on the top two floors of the building and heavy fire in a stairwell.

Brown-Johnson was in cardiac arrest when firefighters arrived. She was taken to Roseland Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 3 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the fire is considered “suspicious,” and a police spokesman said arson is suspected, though the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined. The Chicago Police Department’s Bomb and Arson Unit is investigating.

A firefighter suffered a minor laceration to the face and was treated at Roseland, police said.


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