Fire Department: Cause of Rolf Road Blaze Undetermined
Two homes were destroyed Wednesday in the Plainsman Terrace subdivision. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, and a cat is believed to have perished in the fire.
While the residents were unharmed, Deputy Chief Jon Stratton said two firefighters were injured.
One suffered a sprained ankle but was cleared to return to work the same night, Stratton said, and the other injured his hand and was expected to have it checked by a doctor on Thursday.
Stratton said the blaze does not appear to be suspicious.
“It looks like it was an accidental fire,” he said, adding investigators believe it started on the front porch.
The fire originated at 23648 Rolf Road, quickly consuming the house, and spread east to the home next door.
“I would say [the second house] is close to a total loss,” Stratton said, estimating the total damage at $700,000 to $800,000 for both homes.
The fire swept through the first home so quickly that firefighters — who had to truck water in due to the lack of fire hydrants — had to refocus their efforts on saving the house next door and preventing the blaze from spreading further.
“The house was so consumed with fire, we said, ‘We’re going to try to stop the eastern exposure,’” Stratton said. “It was roaring through this thing,” helped along by Wednesday’s windy conditions, he added.
A ruptured gas meter was also feeding the flames.
“That’s very dangerous,” Stratton said, adding that after several attempts at stopping the flames, firefighters ultimately had to wait for Nicor to come out and shut off the gas.
Stratton estimated that 300,000 gallons of water were brought in to fight the fire.
Typically, fire hydrants are spaced 300 to 350 feet apart in neighborhoods, as required by village ordinance, Stratton said.
“We have a lot of unincorporated areas that don’t have requirements,” he said. Firefighters even attempted to draw water from a pond located several houses down from the blaze, but the water level was too low, Stratton said.
One homeowner was home when the fire started at the first home, but managed to escape with the family dog.
The second family was not home at the time of the fire, Stratton said. Firefighters found a cat inside the house and brought it out, but it became agitated, biting rescue workers, and ran back inside, he said.
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