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Three firefighters injured while battling subdivision fire in Crystal Lake area

Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 3:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 11:43 p.m. CDT

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CRYSTAL LAKE – All that remains of 3217 Carrington Drive is its fireplace and chimney.

Officials are investigating what caused a fire Wednesday afternoon at the home in unincorporated Crystal Lake. The blaze spread to four homes across the street.

Three firefighters were taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry with heat-related injuries, treated and released, said Battalion Chief Chris Olsen of the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department. No residents were injured.

Courtney Lefevre, a senior at Prairie Ridge High School, was home when the fire started, but she was not hurt. The residents of the houses across the street also were not hurt.

When firefighters from departments in McHenry, Kane and Cook counties arrived at the scene at 3:29 p.m. Wednesday, the house was engulfed in flames and embers blown across the street by the wind caught four more homes on fire, Olsen said.

The fire had spread between the first house and the second house within 10 minutes, said Jim Clark, who lives on nearby Remington Drive. Clark had gotten home shortly before the fire spread to the other homes.

In total, the Crystal Lake Fire Department said four other houses were damaged because of the fire. In addition to 3217 Carrington being destroyed:

• 3222 Carrington was left uninhabitable after it had fire damage to its cedar shake roof, which extended into the attic. The interior of the house suffered smoke and water damage.

• 3306 and 3216 Carrington had damage to their cedar shake roofs and some interior smoke damage.

• 3217 E. Terra Cotta Ave. had minor damage to its rear deck and siding.

A fire crew remains on scene of 3217 Carrington to continue extinguishing hot spots.

Due to the extent of the damage at the initial house, firefighters first worked to bring the other fires under control and prevent the fire from spreading further, Olsen said. There were no fire hydrants in the area and the cedar roofs did not help, he said.

Once firefighters brought the initial fire under control, they had to wait for Nicor to shut off a ruptured natural gas line before the fire could be extinguished completely, he said.

“It’s safer right now to leave that burning rather than putting that out and putting fumes in the air,” Olsen said, adding the rupture probably was caused by the fire.

Standing in their backyard, Rick and Amy Noe watched a firefighter take a hatchet to their roof, looking for hot spots, as others brought the originating fire under control.

“Thank God nobody is hurt,” Amy Noe said. “It’s just so surreal seeing nothing across the street. So quick, so quick somebody’s life changes.”

Members of the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office, McHenry County Sheriff's Department and Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department are investigating the blaze.

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