MORRIS — At about 2 p.m. Friday, fire crews were called to the scene of a fire in the 1300 block of DuPont Road south of Morris, where a two-storey single-family home was ablaze.
Tony Nehnelman of Morris said he had passed by the house on DuPont Road south of Morris not 15 minutes before and it was fine, but when he passed by again he saw that there was a fire on the porch. Nehnelman said it was fully-involved when he arrived, and he got a woman and her children, who were upstairs and unaware of the fire, out of the building.
The homeowner said her kids and grandkids all got out safely.
"When we got up this morning, everything was fine," Amy Mannoga said as she watched the fire consumer her home. "The last 20 years of my life are gone."
Morris Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Jeff Wilson said the fire was still on the porch when they arrived, but some of the construction of the house made it difficult to fight the fire once it got into the walls.
"It got into the walls, and it got into the attic," he said. "Fire follows every little void and it follows every little track."
Wilson said the procedure when a fire gets into the attic is to move to the second floor and pull down the ceiling so that the fire crews can get to the fire. He wasn't sure why, but there were extra layers there that made it difficult to tear down the ceiling, as well as stuff being stored in the attic that made it difficult. At one point, crews ran into a stairway blocked by a mattress.
"It got away from us," Wilson said.
Firefighting crews from Morris, Minooka, Mazon, Channahon, Coal City, Seneca, Wilmington, Plattville, Dwight, Gardner, Braidwood, Lisbon-Seward, Newark and Elwood were on the scene, as well as the Grundy County Command Center.
At first, crews attacked the house from all sides. They broke windows, using ladders to get to the second floor ones, as well as chainsaws. They cut a hole in the side of the house to get the mattress out. By 4 p.m., however, there was nothing more that could be done with the hand-held lines.
Two firefighters climbed into the basket of a ladder truck from the Dwight Fire Protection District. Because the basket would use so much water, the lines went quiet and, for a moment, the fire flared up through the roof and the smoke turned black. Then, for more than an hour, the hose from the basket drenched the house to put out the fire in the flaring out from under the roof tiles.
To keep the hoses active, a caravan of water trucks came through the area, filling up at a fire hydrant near Illinois Avenue and Division Street in Morris, which kept a portable poll filled with water that was then pumped out to the hoses to fight the blaze.
Mannoga said none of her family were hurt, but her dog had run off and three of the family's cats were missing.
By 5 p.m. the fire was under control and crews were cleaning up and moving out of the area.
Fire scene investigators were on the scene Friday afternoon, although they had not yet determined a cause. Wilson said he doubted much would be saved because of the water used to fight the fire.