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Mother Dies, Three Injured In Little Village Fire

Updated 07/10/15 - 2:45 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 24-year-old woman has died, after an early morning fire that also injured her husband and two children in the Little Village neighborhood.

A law enforcement source said investigators suspect a citronella candle might have started the fire.

Investigators with the Police Bomb & Arson Unit and the Fire Department's Office of Fire Investigations were at the scene late Friday morning, and have not officially said what caused the fire.

The fire started around 4:20 a.m. in the 2600 block of West Cullerton Street. When firefighters arrived, they found one victim outside a two-story home. A woman and her two children were found huddled together in the burned-out smoke-filled front bedroom.

"Right inside that door is where they found the fire," said Fire Department District Chief Dan Cunningham. "They were able to immediately find the victims inside."

By then, the mother, her 6-year-old son, and her 2-year-old daughter had been in the smoke-filled room for at least several minutes.

"What I saw was firefighters barge in. I seen a couple people being dragged out," neighbor Reyna Jensen said.

Witnesses said firefighters began to administer CPR to at least two of the victims after they were pulled out of the building.

"There was a lot of chaos," neighbor Marlen Escarena said.

According to the fire department, three of the victims were originally listed in critical condition, and one victim's condition was described only as "stable." Two victims were taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. The other two were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital.

The victim who died has been identified as Korissa Chupp.

Even the family dog had to be rescued.

"I could see the dog. I could see that he was injured, and he was trying to breathe," Escarena said.

Joaquin Arellano, who lives upstairs from the family, said when he realized the house was on fire, he ran out front, and found the husband and father of the two children locked out of his lower-level apartment.

"The husband was already outside, and asked me to help him get his family out," he said.

Arellano tried to kick in the front door, but couldn't. He said he couldn't bring himself to watch when the mother and children were carried out.

"I'm not sure in what state they were brought out from the apartment," he said.

The home did not have any smoke detectors.

Sources said the husband was transferred to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, to be treated for severe burns to his throat and hands.

The two children were in critical condition Friday afternoon.

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