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Authorities identify 76-year-old man killed in high-rise fire in Waukegan

One person was killed following a fire at the Lilac Ledge Apartments, 542 Washington Street in Waukegan, on Monday. | Photo: Google Street View.

Authorities have identified a 76-year-old man killed in a high-rise fire at a senior living building in Waukegan on Monday.

An autopsy showed Zeferino Hernandez-Martinez, 76, of Waukegan, died as a result of severe burn injuries as a result of a fire, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek. Toxicology and carbon monoxide testing are still pending.

The Waukegan Fire Department and Waukegan Police Department responded around 5:15 p.m. Monday to the Lilac Ledge Apartments, 542 Washington Street, for a 911 call of a structure fire.

Firefighters found a fire on the 10th floor of a 12-story high-rise apartment building and contained the blaze to a single apartment.

Hernandez-Martinez was found dead at the scene. No other residents were displaced and no other apartments sustained damage.

The Waukegan Police Department, Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Lake County Coroner’s Office are investigating the incident.

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Earlier that same evening, firefighters responded to the 2200 block of North Butrick in Waukegan for a fire in an apartment. The blaze was extinguished by a sprinkler system.

That fire appears to be the result of cooking, the fire department said in a statement. No injuries were reported in that incident.

“We would like to remind everyone that cooking is the leading cause of fires and injuries in the home according to the National Fire Protection Association. Please be careful and never leave any cooking unattended to help prevent these types of fires,” the fire department said.


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