Weather Updates

Blaze that killed two firefighters blamed on trash fire

Firefighters scene 3-11 alarm fire South Shore Wednesday. (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

Firefighters on the scene of a 3-11 alarm fire in the South Shore Wednesday. (Brian Jackson/Sun-Times)

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Updated: December 25, 2010 12:22PM

The fire at an abandoned laundry on the South Side that claimed the lives of two Chicago firefighters was started by someone lighting wood or trash on fire.

That finding, announced by the Chicago Fire Department on Friday, fits investigators’ working theory that a homeless person trying to stay warm accidentally set the fire Wednesday morning at the rear of the building at 1744 E. 75th St.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements were announced Friday for the firefighters who died when the roof and a wall collapsed at the former Sing Way Laundry.

Visitation for Edward Stringer will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday at Blake Lamb Funeral Home, 4727 W. 103rd, Oak Lawn. His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Rita of Casia Shrine Chapel, 7740 S. Western.

Visitation for Corey Ankum will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S Dorchester. The wake will be held at the church at 10 a.m. Thursday. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m.

Seventeen other firefighters were injured when the roof collapsed, trapping Stringer, Ankum and two other firefighters in rubble. It was the worst loss of life for the fire department in more than a decade.

The building has a history of code violations, and the owner, Chuck Dai, has been sued by the city at least three times since 1987.

City officials say they are reviewing all legal options, including possibly seeking maximum fines for uncorrected violations and filing civil or criminal contempt of court charges for violating a court order.

Contributing: Lisa Donovan

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