The sole survivor of a fire in Chicago this past weekend died Tuesday, bringing the blaze’s death toll to 10, officials said. Adrian Hernandez, 14, was in critical condition for two days at Stroger Hospital.
Adrian, who lived on the block in the Little Village neighborhood where the home that was gutted by the fire stands, was pronounced dead at 11:12 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
He was at a sleepover with eight first cousins and a close family friend when the fire swept through the West Side apartment, according to relatives.
The children who died ranged in age from 3 months to 16 years. The other children who died have been identified as Amayah Almaraz, 3 months old; Alanni Ayala, 3; Gialanni Ayala, 5; Ariel Garcia, 5; Giovanni Ayala, 10; Xavier Contreras, 11; Nathan Contreras, 13; and Victor Mendoza, 16.
On Monday night, Cesar Contreras, 14, who was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, died.
As of Tuesday, investigators continue examining forensic evidence to determine what started the city’s deadliest blaze in at least a decade. There was evidence of fireworks and smoking materials – such as a cigarette – on the back enclosed porch where the fire was believed to have started, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has said the agency is investigating allegations of neglect involving the children.
Firefighters found most of the children unresponsive when crews responding to the fire entered the small, brick apartment building Sunday morning.
Most of the children were first cousins. Mendoza was a close family friend, according to Krystle Sauseda, 31, who said she is an aunt of many of the victims.