Gresham fire that killed mother, 10-year-old daughter was arson, family claims

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The family of a 10-year-old girl and her mother who died in an early morning house fire in Gresham say the blaze was intentionally set.

Surveillance camera video is being reviewed by Chicago police of the blaze that broke out in a single family home in the 8600-block of South Hermitage early Sunday morning.

Cameras were rolling as a woman ran out of the front door, the inferno growing in the background. Four people were able to escape, while 33-year-old Ieasha Ford and her 10-year-old daughter Porsche slept.

EMBED More News Videos

A 10-year-old girl and her mother were killed in an early morning house fire in Chicago's Gresham neighborhood. Family said they believe the fatal fire was intentionally set.

Four people were able to escape, but mother and daughter did not make it.

"She knew her daughter was dead in her arms and she collapsed," said Felicia White, victim's cousin.

Ieasha Ford's boyfriend and two cousins are among those who were hospitalized, and are all expected to recover from the injuries.

The family said they're confident the fire was intentionally set, and that they know who did it. They told police that moments before the blaze started, a man was spotted in the alleyway near the home. Relatives said the fire was started by Molotov cocktail.

"He was in the gangway with all black, and he had a black plastic bag," White said.

Family members said the same man had been threatening to burn down the home, and that the fire happened just hours after an argument between Ieasha and an acquaintance her family said had been harassing her. Bomb and arson detectives have joined the investigation.

"They have voicemails and texts saying that he was outside of the house, and he was going to blow her house up," White said.

Porsche was due to return to in-person learning Monday morning. Now the family is grieving, and wants answers.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.