Local

Fire destroys home; firefighters injured

Firefighters work to put out a house fire on Gardina Vista in Crystal Lake on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.
Firefighters work to put out a house fire on Gardina Vista in Crystal Lake on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire at a vacant house in Crystal Lake for more than four hours Wednesday.

Firefighters were called to 1344 Gardina Vista in Crystal Lake at 5:18 p.m. Several other area fire departments were called to help.

Two firefighters were injured while on the scene. One Huntley firefighter was treated at the scene for heat-related symptoms. He was not transported to a hospital. The other, a Crystal Lake firefighter, suffered a non life-threatening injury to one of his legs while working on a ladder, and he was flown to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Battalion Chief Thomas Pollnow declined this morning to release either firefighter's name. He also said fire officials are investigating how the leg injury occurred, and that the state fire marshal is expected to arrive this morning to help investigate the fire itself.

Pollnow added that the Crystal Lake firefighter is in stable condition today.

Crews on the scene Wednesday evening broke out all the windows and cut a hole in the roof to get at the flames. A ladder truck was used to spray water down through the hole from above.

With near-record temperatures and a heat index above 100 degrees, neighbors gathered around to watch, some taking spots in the shade.

No one was living in the house at the time of the fire. Patrick Gingras, the owner, said he bought the house two years ago with plans to tear it down and build on the foundation. At that time, he said he offered it to the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department to burn down for a training exercise. Gingras said the department declined, and the house had been uninhabited since.

At 9:45 p.m., crews had the fire under control but still were busy tending to hot spots and flare-ups, Olsen said. The house likely would be considered a total loss, he added. Officials had not been inside the house late Wednesday night.

No other structures were damaged.

The cause of the fire still wasn’t known as of this morning. The Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department, Crystal Lake Police and the State Fire Marshal will investigate.

According to a press release issued early this morning by Pollnow, damage was estimated at $100,000.

Other departments that assisted at the fire were Algonquin/Lake in the Hills, McHenry, Cary, Nunda, Huntley, Lakewood, East Dundee, Wonder Lake, Fox River Grove, Carpentersville, Woodstock, Barrington, Marengo, Lake Zurich, Wauconda, Rutland Dundee, Spring Grove and Pingree Grove. The Salvation Army provided water and snacks to the crews, Pollnow said in the press release.

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