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Officials: grill started Crystal Lake fire

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 4:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:35 a.m. CDT
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(H. Rick Bamman –
Homeowner Timothy Goorsky (center) leads his two dogs away from flames Wednesday as his home burns on Riverside Drive in unincorporated Crystal Lake. The dogs were in the yard when the fire started. Two cats were unaccounted for. “We loved them and will miss them,” Goorsky said.
(H. Rick Bamman -
Multiple fire stations are responding to a fire at 4230 Riverside Drive where a gas grill exploded, according to police scanner traffic. The MABAS box alert was upgraded after the first responders arrived on scene.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Officials say a fire that left one rural Crystal Lake home uninhabitable and another damaged originated on a grill.

Flames engulfed a home at 4230 Riverside Drive Wednesday afternoon and spread to a neighboring house at 4228 Riverside Drive. A Level 3 MABAS box alert was called for the fire. The MABAS box alert was upgraded twice after the first responders arrived on scene.

No civilians or firefighters were injured during the blaze.

The original call came for a grill fire at about 3:44 p.m., according to Bill Hoover, chief of Nunda Rural Fire Protection District. Three minutes later, callers reported the house was on fire and that the blaze was spreading to the nearby home. The first fire engine arrived at 3:49 p.m., Hoover said.

Much of the siding had burned off the residence at 4230 Riverside. Flames could be seen bursting through the roof until about 5 p.m.

Crews brought the fire completely under control by about 6 p.m., Hoover said.

Nobody was at 4230 Riverside Drive when the fire originated. Homeowner Timothy Goorsky said he saw his home in flames when he arrived from babysitting his grandson in Johnsburg. Goorsky grew up in the house and has lived there for 55 years.

He said he did not believe his two cats, which are unaccounted for, could have survived the fire. Hoover couldn't confirm whether the pets had been found.

He also wasn't aware yet whether anyone was home at the neighboring house, which had charring on the outside and suffered "significant damage," but was ruled inhabitable, Hoover said.

The second residence suffered fire damage to a large shed and a fence, but firefighters were able to contain the blaze from damaging more of the property, according to a news release from the Nunda Rural Fire Protection District.

Investigators were still at the scene past sunset Wednesday. Investigation units from Nunda Fire, the Wauconda Fire District, Crystal Lake Fire Rescue, the McHenry County Sheriff's Office and the Illinois State Fire Marshall were on the scene, Hoover said.

The fire required responses from 36 units. Engines from Nunda, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Fox Lake, Huntley and Harvard were called to the scene. Due to the area not having fire hydrants, water tender trucks from Nunda, Cary, Fox River Grove, Union, Countryside, Richmond, Spring Grove, Lake Villa, Antioch and Hampshire were called. Ladder trucks were provided by Wauconda, Marengo and Buffalo Grove. Manpower squads were provided by McHenry, Long Grove and Hoffman Estates. Ambulances were sent from Palatine and Lakewood. Nunda's fire district was covered by a Woodstock engine and an Arlington Heights ambulance. Fire scene support was provided by the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency, the Metropolitan Emergency Support Services and McHenry County Sheriff's Office.

Firefighters battled the fire using water tanks, as no hydrants are available in the area. But Hoover said that crews also were helped by a "turbo draft" water supply device, which pulled water from the nearby Fox River.

–Shawn Shinneman

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