Home where elderly woman died in fire in Chicago's Belmont Heights did not have working smoke detectors
CHICAGO - The woman killed in a fire in Chicago's Belmont Heights neighborhood on Sunday has been identified as Francine Matchitelli, age 78.
Officials say her caregiver was away from the home, running an errand and when she returned the fire was in progress.
Neighbors are heartbroken and were seen outside the victim’s home consoling one another. At least two neighbors off camera said the victim remained a heavy smoker, relying on oxygen tanks inside her home after being diagnosed with lung disease.
The fire ignited around 11 a.m. at Grace and Odell. Officials say the fire started and was contained to a bedroom.
Matchitelli had lived there for more than 30 years according to neighbors and previously worked as a real estate agent. Fire officials say there were two smoke detectors present in side of the home, but they were not working.
Neighbor and friend Malgorzata Bozek called it a tragedy.
"[She] was a very sweet woman." Bozek said.
The fire department is still investigating the exact cause.