WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. – A massive overnight fire in Washington Park destroyed two houses and damages a third home. No serious injuries are being reported, however one firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion.
It all happened on Portland Place, not far from Route 111 and north of I-64. Authorities told FOX 2 the two homes which were destroyed were both vacant, the third home which is damaged was occupied.
Three people were inside of it at the time of the fire. They all escaped without injuries.
Washington Park firefighters got the call about 4:15a.m.
The Assistant Chief for the Washington Park Fire Department, Ronnie Harris, told FOX 2 when crews first arrived, the two vacant houses were already fully engulfed and the flames were spreading to the third home.
The fire quickly went to three alarms, with crews from seven different departments responding.
The three people who were inside the damaged home shared that they were all sleeping when the fire started.
One of the three, Ronaldthen Dent, said for some reason he just woke up and realized what was happening. He got his girlfriend and her father up, and they all got out of the house.
“When I woke up, I just opened my eyes,” Dent explained. “The screen on the window, it was on fire. That was the first thing I seen – it was right in my face. So I woke up, and I was like no this ain’t real. Then I looked again – yeah this is real!”
His girlfriend, Christine Clemons, added, “I didn’t believe it. I kept hearing glass break, you know, I’m like what’s going on. Fire department being at the door, he’s rushing trying to get everybody out the house. It was crazy.”
The Washington Park Fire Chief said that his crews did have some water issues which delayed them for a few minutes during the firefight. He said one fire hydrant did not work properly, and crews had trouble getting the cap off of another one before finally getting it to work.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal has been called in to help determine a cause.
Our Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX helicopter was flying over the area. FOX 2 will update this story with more information as it becomes available.