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Victim in Sept. 24 Highland Park house fire identified

Only charred remnants house 1788 MidlHighlPark. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media

Only charred remnants of the house at 1788 Midland, Highland Park. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 25, 2012 11:37AM

The Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey has confirmed that the body found in the burned-out Highland Park house last month was that of restaurateur Giacomo Ruggirello.

The 61-year-old died in a fire at his home, 1788 Midland Ave., on Sept. 24 after firefighters responded just before 1 a.m. to his home and found it fully engulfed in flames, damaging an adjoining house as well.

Neighbors said the homeowner was Giacomo Ruggirello, owner of the popular Trattoria Giacomo Restaurant in Highwood, which he opened in 1998.

Yancey said a cause of death is not being released until he receives the reports from the Illinois State Fire Marshall, who is also investigating the fire. He already said that there were no outward signs of trauma. The body was burned beyond recognition.

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force was also called in to investigate.

In a 1998 interview in the Lake County News-Sun, Ruggirello said he came to the U.S. from Palermo, Italy, where his family operated a pastry shop and cafe. He worked in a bakery in Cicero, several Chicago restaurants and a 12-year stint in New Orleans. Then he moved north to open his own restaurant.

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