Death toll in Little Village fire rises to 10 children

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A 10th child has been pronounced dead in the wake of a fire early Sunday in the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side that had already claimed the lives of nine other children.

Adrian Hernandez, 14, died at 11:12 a.m. Tuesday at Stroger Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Cesar Contreras, 14, died at 6:33 p.m. Monday at Stroger Hospital.

Both had been listed in critical condition at the hospital since being taken for treatment after the fire broke out about 4 a.m. in a small residential building in the 2200 block of South Sacramento Avenue, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

All of those killed were found on the second floor of the rear building, said the fire department, who noted that investigators had found no working smoke detectors in the rear building.

Six other children were pronounced dead Sunday. They were identified as 3-month-old Amaya Almarez; 5-year-old Ariel Garcia; 10-year-old Giovanni Ayala; 11-year-old Xavier Contreras; 13-year-old Nathan Contreras; and 16-year-old Victor Mendoza.

In addition, a firefighter was taken to a hospital and listed in good condition, the fire department said.

The cause of the fire, which was put out by 5:10 a.m., was still under investigation, fire officials said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also lending assistance to investigators.

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