Quick Thinking

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Her husband is fighting for his life in a suburban Chicago hospital.

Several neighbors tried to rescue the family. Some almost became victims of the burning house themselves. The fire broke out around midnight in the 2900 block of Horton Avenue on Rockford's southeast side. Rockford firefighters didn't take long to put out the blaze but by then the damage was done.

Kevin Evans recalls one of the worst 15 minutes of his life as he tries to save his neighbor from this burning house but couldn't. Kevin says, “I knew I had to help her but I couldn't get to her.”
Kevin first tried reaching 68-year-old Wanda Kosowiec by going through this side door of the house but became lost and almost overcome by smoke. He then headed to the front door where he and a Rockford Police Officer broke down the door.

71-year-old John Kosowiec was found lying on the floor with burns covering 60 percent of body. Another neighbor, Kathy Eldon did everything she could to comfort him as rescuers tried to save his wife. By this point the fire had fully engulfed the room that Wanda Kosowiec was in and neighbors say the smoke was too thick to help.

71-year-old Wanda Koswiec was pronounced dead at the scene and her 71-year-old husband was airlifted to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood. Fire officials say that the neighbors should be commended for trying to save the couple from their burning home. Some wonder if they did enough.