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HERRIN — A fatal fire in Herrin on Friday morning claimed the lives of two women.

Mary Dee Litton, 77, and her daughter, Mary Jane Litton, 54, were identified as the victims in a news release from Williamson County Corner Michael "Junior" Burke.

Herrin Fire Captain Roger Miller said crews were called at 12:49 a.m. to a house on North 18th Street in response to a fire in the back of the house, with flames visible on the inside and outside. He said firefighters went inside the house, pulled the two women out, and attempted life-saving measures, but could not revive them.

The two women were taken to Herrin Hospital, where they were later pronounced dead. Burke said autopsies would be conducted on Saturday.

Miller said half of the house is charred from the flames, and the rest of the home has heavy smoke damage. Herrin firefighters were on the scene until about 4:30 a.m. Friday.

He said a representative of the Illinois State Fire Marshal's office was on scene Friday morning with an Illinois State Police trooper.

As of Friday afternoon, a cause for the fire has not been released. Miller said at this time he doesn’t think there is a suspicious nature to the cause, but the department will know more after the fire marshal’s investigation.

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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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