Charges pending in Rogers Park arson fire that led woman to jump to her death

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Charges are pending Wednesday in connection with a deadly fire at a Rogers Park neighborhood apartment building that investigators believe was intentionally set.

A spokesman for Chicago Police confirmed that a person was in custody Wednesday afternoon and said charges were expected, but did not provide additional information.

About 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire in the 1700 block of West Touhy that started on a back porch and spread throughout the building, according to the Chicago Fire Department. 

Maria Silva, 51, jumped from the top floor of the four-story building before firefighters could reach her, according to authorities. She was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, where she was pronounced dead. 

The fire was being investigated as an arson, police said.

A ruling on the cause and manner of her death was pending further investigation, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said following an autopsy Wednesday.

Surveillance cameras recorded a person at the site of the fire shortly before it started, leading to a person of interest being interviewed by detectives, according to a statement from the office of Ald. Joe Moore (49th) on Wednesday morning.

Another woman suffered smoke inhalation in the fire and was taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital, where her condition was stabilized, the fire department said.

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