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63-year-old Harvard man dies in house fire Thursday

3 other residents escape house fire, police say

A 63-year-old man was found dead Thursday morning in the basement of a Harvard home after a house fire.

The Harvard Police Department and Harvard Fire Protection District responded about 3:15 a.m. to the 400 block of East Blackman Street for a fire that began in the basement of the home, according to a news release from the police department.

The 63-year-old man was declared dead at the scene, Fire Chief Steve Harter said. A 10-year-old boy, 14-year-old girl and 55-year-old woman escaped the fire, police said.

“Officers, upon our arrival, were able to hear him calling out, but in terms of his cause of death, we are unsure,” Police Chief Mark Krause said, adding that the McHenry County Coroner’s Office will conduct an autopsy.

Krause said the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire, and it appears to be accidental and attributed to careless smoking.

The fire caused about $75,000 in damage and mostly was contained to the basement, Harter said. A man boarded up a second-story window of the home Thursday morning.

The three other residents of the home were uninjured, Harter said. The man was temporarily staying at the residence, Krause said.

Hebron and Capron rescues crews, as well as Marengo, Woodstock, McHenry and Sharon fire departments, also responded.

The incident and cause of fire is under investigation, Harter said.

The coroner’s office could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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