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3 Dead, 1 Injured In House Fire In River Grove

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An elderly woman, one of her sons, and a granddaughter were killed in a house fire Wednesday morning in west suburban River Grove, and another son was injured, fire officials said.

River Grove Fire Chief Sean Flynn said the fire started shortly before 7:30 a.m. in the attached garage of a home in the 2300 block of Grove Street. The fire quickly spread to the rest of the house.

A 91-year-old woman was found dead on the first floor, according to the River Grove Fire Department. Her 61-year-old son and 28-year-old granddaughter were found dead on the second floor. Another son, who is 56, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation, and his condition has been stabilized.

The victims' names have not been released.

Flynn said firefighters initially had had issues with frozen hydrants at the scene. Temperatures on Wednesday morning were in the teens, with gusty winds.

"This type of weather definitely hinders any first responders and anything they do, especially when it comes to trying to get hydrants that aren't frozen, and just the wind conditions as well," Flynn said.

Cell phone video shows flames and smoke quickly taking over the entire house.

Several local fire departments showed up to help, with dozens of firefighters working to extinguish the blaze.

Gusty winds didn't help matters, as firefighters worked from top to bottom to get a handle on it.

A neighbor a few doors down described the scene.

"A gentleman was screaming really loud for everybody to run, and evacuate, and call 911. Every fire department in the country here showed up today," she said. "It's just horrible conditions, especially with this wind and all."

Firefighters were eventually able to extinguish the blaze, but the house appeared to be a total loss.

The victims' identities have not yet been released, but Flynn said it appears they're all from the same family.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal was helping investigate the cause of the fire, but Flynn said there did not appear to be anything suspicious.

Flynn said he did not know yet whether the home had any working smoke detectors. The brutal temperatures and harsh winds making things hard for fire crews. It took them almost three hours to put the fire out.

Mike Defranscesca lives right across the street. Just before 7:30 Wednesday morning, he woke up to the smell of smoke.

"We came outside and we saw one of the guys that lives in the house, just outside frantic," he said. "Hysterical. Screaming."

He said his wife called 911 while he tried to help his distressed neighbor.

"He was saying that his family was stuck inside the house," he said. "We tried to go around the front but the house just went up so fast."

The call came in as a garage fire. Their neighbor telling me he didn't know much about the family.

"I know there might have been an elderly person in there, at least one person might have been special needs," he said. "So it's sad to think about."

The fire chief said the harsh winds likely made the fire spread faster.

"This type of weather definitely hinders any first responders and anything they do, especially when it comes to hydrants that are frozen and the wind conditions," Flynn said.

The condition of the man who survived is stable at an area hospital. Police and fire crews are still investigating the cause of the fire.

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