Crews were called to 809 South 16th Avenue, which is a 1940s era two-story house, just after 4 a.m. Wednesday. Dozens of firefighters from several departments responded.
As the wind chill dipped into brutal temperatures, flames shot through the roof of the Maywood house. Frozen hydrants caused problems for firefighters trying to put out the blaze.
When firefighters arrived, Robert Moss, 74, was on the roof screaming for help, saying a woman was trapped inside. His wife, Annie Moss, a bedridden mother figure in the neighborhood who suffered from Alzheimer's disease over the past decade, died apparently where she slept. She was in her 70s.
"The guys went in to do an interior search and found her and got her out and then went to the first floor, and that's when the building took off," said John Cadigan, Maywood fire chief.
Moss' daughter, Jyl Moss, 55, was rescued but eventually died at Loyola Medical Center.
Jyl's father, Robert Moss, who suffered smoke inhalation, remains in serious condition at Loyola. ABC7 is told he is expected to be released within a couple of days.
His son, Roderick Moss, came upon the scene around 7 a.m. as he returned from his birthday party downtown. He just turned 35 and now has lost his sister and his stepmother.
"She was a good caring mother and took care of him and she took care of me like I was her own. She was a very good mother," said Roderick Moss. "I used to call her grandma because I never knew my grandmother.
Roderick Moss, who lives at the home with his wife, says there were working smoke detectors inside and that fire insurance was current.
Neighbor Valerie Jackson says her husband called 911 Wednesday morning when they saw the flames next door. Now it's about reaching out to help a family that is displaced after spending 50 years on the block.
"Tomorrow is not promised to nobody. Thank the good Lord that you got today and just pray to him every day for another day, because he got the last word in everything," said Jackson.
Witnesses and friends nearby woke up to the sirens and smoke Wednesday. They watched on as firefighters fought the flames and tried to save the family.
"Tragic. It was pitiful," said witness Dominique Dandridge.
"It is really hard. This is going to be tough. They were good neighbors," said Jesse Washington, who said he was the victims' neighbor for almost 50 years.
Fire investigators say they do not know what caused the fire.