3 dead, another injured in River Grove house fire

The Illinois State Fire Marshall is investigating a fatal fire in River Grove that killed three people and injured a fourth.

The smoke and calls for help woke up neighbors around 7:30 Wednesday morning.

"We were just getting the kids ready for school, and we smelled the smoke, saw the fire. You could feel the heat coming off the house," said Michael DeFrancesca.

By the time River Grove firefighters arrived on North Grove Street, flames had jumped from the garage to the house and consumed it fast. 

"This was going hard and heavy before we even got here," said Chief Sean Flynn, River Grove Fire.

That’s when neighbors saw a man outside the burning home, frantically trying to figure out how to reach his loved ones trapped inside.

"He was just hysterical. He was yelling about his family, his mom and all that. It was really sad," said DeFrancesca.

The fire department says the victims span three generations of the same family.


The victims have been identified as 91-year-old Marilyn Owrey Hennig, 61-year-old John Owrey, and 24-year-old Michelle Owrey.

Another adult son was hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

The fire chief says they’ll be checking on the firefighters’ mental health after responding to a tragedy like this.

Besides fighting the fire, fire crews also had to battle the weather with biting winds and bitter cold.

"We did have some water problems, frozen hydrants, things like that, so don't forget to thank your first responders that are out there in this type of weather," said Chief Flynn.

The family was somewhat new to the community next to Trumbull Park, but neighbors say they’re feeling the loss.

"It’s a sad, sad day on Grove Street. Not a good way to start the new year," said neighbor Donald Edwards.