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HAMMOND — A 62-year-old woman died Saturday after firefighters rescued her and two others from a fire that is being investigated as a possible arson, officials said.

Brenda Poole, 62, of 19 Doty St., was among the three people rescued from the fire about 2:30 a.m. Saturday at her home, officials said.

Hammond firefighters arrived to find the front porch area of the single-family home engulfed, Fire Chief Jeff Smith said.

A 33-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were rescued from the second story with a ladder, he said.* 

The man is Poole's son and the woman, of Chicago, was visiting the home, Hammond police spokesman Lt. Steve Kellogg said.

The Chicago woman was taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns to her hands, he said. The man refused further medical treatment, Smith said.

Poole was found in the home and taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, where she was pronounced dead at 8:53 a.m. Saturday, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. The cause and manner of death are pending.

The Hammond Police Department is investigating the case as a possible arson, Kellogg said.

Check back at nwi.com for updates to this story.

* Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct that firefighters used a ladder to rescue two people. The Times regrets the error.

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Public safety reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.