Person of interest questioned in South Side fire that killed 4

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Chicago Police are questioning a person of interest in the fire that left four people — including three children — dead three weeks ago in the South Chicago neighborhood.

The blaze was first reported at 1:36 a.m. Aug. 23 in the three-story, courtyard apartment building in the 8100 block of South Essex, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

A 3-month-old girl who lived in the building, Melanie Watson, was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:40 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy showed she died from injuries from a fall from height, and carbon monoxide toxicity.

The other two girls — Madison Watson, 4, and Shaniya Staples, 7; and 56-year-old Kirk Johnson, were later found dead inside the building after the fire was extinguished. Autopsies have ruled they died of thermal injuries and carbon monoxide toxicity.

All four of their deaths were ruled homicides, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The same person of interest was initially questioned immediately after the blaze, but was released two days later. As of Tuesday morning, the person was being questioned again, but no charges had been filed.

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