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Chicago man killed in second house fire in same home

Man killed in house fire in Chicago's Burnside neighborhood
Man killed in house fire in Chicago's Burnside neighborhood 02:16

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago firefighters and police are investigating a fire in a Burnside home that ended with a 70-year-old man dead. 

The family called him kind, a great cook, and a selfless family man. 

The fire broke out on the first floor of a two-story coach house at 640 E. 89th Place. 

Inside the home, a large family thrived. Now, they are trying to understand how Howard Criddell, their 70-year-old father, brother, and friend, died suddenly after surviving so much. 

"He beat cancer not once but twice," a family member said.

Criddell lived in the coach house behind his mother's home, which they say was always full of family. 

"He was a family man," his daughter, Danielle Newton, said. "He was definitely a family man, And he would take care of anybody. He would take in everybody." 

Newton was at her grandmother's house in front of the home when the fire started.

"We just thought it was a false alarm," she said. "We were in here making plans, helping my grandmother make plans, and just something totally different."

It's a loss so fresh it doesn't feel real. 

"I asked him to be my valentine. It's just unreal." 

Criddell was already gone by the time emergency crews arrived. 

"Just gotta take it one day at a time," his daughter said. 

His family said this was the second fire at the home. Last time, he wasn't at the house.

"There was a fire that stemmed in the walls, and we had to regut it," his brother said.

"We're puzzled as far as what actually really happened because we don't have answers, and that's what's really getting me, and I know my daughter and my niece because we all loved him." 

The Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Police Department are investigating the cause of the fire. 

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