Man, 2 cats dead after fire erupts at Cicero home

A man and two cats are dead after a fire erupted at a Cicero home early Monday. 

Just after midnight, authorities said a fire broke out in the 3100 block of South 53rd Avenue.

An 82-year-old woman was escorted safely out of the building.


A 62-year-old man, Dale Forst, died in the fire, authorities said.

Forst was watching television in the front room, and it appears the fire started in the basement right under the front room.

His lifelong friend, Tom Krezel, said he had recently talked to Forst. They were planning to go hiking. 

He drove to the house to see the damage, 

"[I'm] heartbroken, what do you say? I grew up with this man. That's it, he's gone," said Krezel.

Bryan Gutierrez lives next door and awoke to see flames on the front of the house.

"I looked outside and saw the window, flames were coming out. It was scary. It is something that has never happened where I lived," said Guiterrez.

The family has five cats. Three were accounted for, but two were killed as a result of the fire. 

The cause is under investigation, but preliminary information suggests that the fire started from a candle.