Man Charged with Murder, Arson in Chicago House Fire

Chicago firefighters at fire scene

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Rosemary Sobol

Chicago Tribune


A man has been charged with murder and arson in connection with a February house fire in the Gresham neighborhood that killed a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, police said Wednesday.

Reginald Brown, 63, was arrested at 11 a.m. Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated arson and first-degree murder, according to a Chicago police news release. Brown was identified as the person “who intentionally started a fire at a residence” in the 8600 block of South Hermitage Avenue at 4 a.m. Feb. 28, and knew there were people inside the home when he set the fire, police said in the release.

Ieashia Ford, 34, and Porche Stinson Ford, 10, died from injuries from inhaling combustible materials “due to house fire due to arson,” and the manner of death for each was homicide, the Cook County medical examiner’s office determined.

In their investigation, detectives learned a man entered the property through the rear with a white plastic bottle containing gasoline and spread the accelerant on a back porch, before lighting it on fire, according to the report. Police on Tuesday declined to provide updated information.

The bottle later was located, and the contents were tested and confirmed to be gasoline, according to the report.

Family members also previously said Ieashia Ford was receiving threats, according to published reports, and police said they obtained video surveillance showing the person who started the fire approaching a back porch through the rear of the property.

Brown was expected to appear before a judge in bond court later Wednesday.

Check back for updates.

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