A Chicago house fire that killed a 10-year-old girl and her mother this week was intentionally ignited, police said.
Ieasha Ford, 33, and her daughter, Porsche were killed in a fire that engulfed the family’s home in the city's Gresham neighborhood on Sunday morning. The mother and daughter were sleeping at the time, WLS-TV reported.
Their deaths are now being investigated as homicides, according to autopsies conducted by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Firefighters responded to reports of a fire in the 8600 block of South Hermitage Avenue around 4 a.m. on Sunday. Video footage captured a woman fleeing the residence as the flames grew. Four others also managed to escape the home.
Ford’s boyfriend and two of her cousins required medical treatment in the fire’s aftermath. They were hospitalized at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Authorities are now reviewing surveillance footage of the blaze. Bomb detectives are also working on the investigation. No arrests have been made.
Ford’s relatives said the 33-year-old mother died trying to rescue her young daughter.
"She knew her daughter was dead in her arms and she collapsed," Felicia White, Ford’s cousin, told the outlet.
"She went back in to get her daughter," another cousin, David Fields, told WLS-TV. "They passed away in the doorway and she had the baby in her arms."
The family was also adamant the fire was purposefully lit. Ford’s loved ones alleged a suspicious man, who was spotted in a nearby alley, hurled a Molotov cocktail at the home, sparking the inferno.
"He was in the gangway with all black, and he had a black plastic bag," White said.
White said the man in question had previously threatened to torch Ford’s home. She also noted Ford had gotten into an argument with a family acquaintance shortly before the fire broke out.
"They have voicemails and texts saying that he was outside of the house, and he was going to blow her house up," White said.
Ford’s 10-year-old daughter, Porsche, had been scheduled to return to in-school classes Monday, her family said, following months-long safety restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered schools across the nation.
"I don't know what to do,” Tieashia Stinson, Ford’s daughter said. “I lost my momma and my sister. That's my only sister.”
The Chicago Police Department didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Wednesday.
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