The fire broke out after 11 p.m. Sunday on the top floor of a building in the 1900 block of West Ohio Street. Neighbors said they heard a popping noise and saw smoke when the fire started. Firefighters said there was zero-visibility due to the smoke when they arrived at the scene.
Firefighters found Cecola, who lived on the top floor, in the front room of the residence. He was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County Hospital.
Cecola was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:41 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
The landlord's daughter, Elizabeth Escalante, said Cecola lived with his daughter and granddaughter, who only recently moved in. The other residents, including a pregnant woman, were able to get out in time.
The landlord and his wife, both 75 years old, lived on the first floor. Escalante said her father, disabled after a stroke, and her mother were rescued by a next-door neighbor.
"One of the neighbors came and helped my mom. They said he actually lifted my dad and took him out," Escalante said. "I'm very grateful for that because my dad can't walk."
At least 12 people lived in the West Town building, which was badly damaged in the fire. There was also heavy damage to the building next door.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.