LAKEMOOR – A Lakemoor man stepped out for an oil change and came back to find firefighters extinguishing flames from his home Wednesday.
Around 10:30 a.m., McHenry Township firefighters responded to the flames at 212 S. Lily Lake Road after a passerby reported the fire. The fire was contained to the rear of the one-story home.
Wes Fortman is renting the property and said he left to get his car an oil change minutes before the fire began.
“The only thing I left on was the air conditioner,” Fortman said.
Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the home, according to a news release from the McHenry Township Fire Protection District.
Fire personnel attacked from the exterior before entering the home, where they fully extinguished the fire. It was brought under control 20 minutes after the initial dispatch, according to the release.
The house was deemed unlivable.
Maggie Sullivan is the owner of the property and lives next door. She credits the passerby for limiting the damage to the rear third of the home.
“This was the house I grew up in,” she said. “A nice man drove by and called it in. He was pounding on all the [neighbors'] doors. He probably saved a lot of the house.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials believe it was accidental, the release said.
McHenry Township received assistance from fire departments from Wauconda, Woodstock, Fox Lake and Wonder Lake.
– Jim Dallke and Shawn Shinneman