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La Grange

Ronald and Eleanor Martin identified as La Grange fire victims

LA GRANGE — The names of the elderly couple who were killed in a Dec. 8 house fire in La Grange have been released.

Ronald Martin, 90, and his wife, Eleanor Martin, 91, were killed in a fire in the 900 block of Kensington Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 8, said La Grange Fire Chief Bill Bryzgalski.

Ronald died from a combination of carbon monoxide intoxication and an inhalation of smoke and soot, while Eleanor died from inhalation injuries, according to media reports.

Ronald was taken from the home via ambulance to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:32 a.m. Dec. 8. As crews continued searching and extinguishing the fire, Eleanor, who already died, was found on the first floor.

Tony Kernagis, 33, who lives next door to the home on Kensington Avenue, said he and his family were woken by a police officer about 2 a.m. that morning, who told them they had to leave the house. Kernagis stayed behind while his wife took the kids to a friend's home.

"Flames were coming out of the top," Kernagis said. "It erupted."

Kernagis said he knew Ronald, whom he said spent most of the year in Florida. He said he was home for the holidays.

"He was a nice man," Kernagis said. "He's been here forever."

Kernagis said Ronald Martin as a World War II veteran who was a retired physicist at Argonne National Laboratory in Darien.

"He was very smart," Kernagis said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire but officials from the La Grange Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office are still investigating the cause.

Check back with as more information becomes available.

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