Four homes catch fire in Crystal Lake

May 1, 2013 (CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.)

PHOTOS: Chopper 7 flies over the smoldering homes in Crystal Lake

The fire - at first - appeared harmless.

Within minutes, it was raging. Two neighborhood boys were long-boarding - one alerted the 18-year-old girl who was home alone inside the burning house.

"We thought it was maybe a leaf fire," said Justin, a neighborhood boy whose last name has been withheld at the request of his parents.

"We rang the doorbell and it was taking a while, so we started pounding the door," said Scott, another neighborhood boy who witnessed the fire. "She started screaming 'there is a fire, there is a fire.'"

She escaped as the other boy warned neighbors.

"We just told them 'there is a fire, fire's coming,'" said Justin.

A brick structure is all that's left of the home. Fire officials say four other homes are damaged.

Firefighters said they had two challenges in this particular fire. The first challenge was that the neighborhood does not have fire hydrants, so they needed to truck in water. Secondly, the fire jumped to homes that have wood shake shingles.

Chris Olsen, Battalion Chief, Crystal Lake Fire Department Obviously wood burns very easily, and the embers were carried easily in the 25 MPH winds.

One resident, a grandmother watching her granddaughter, got a call from the child's father, who is a firefighter.

"Her father called me and told me there was a fire in the neighborhood....I looked out the window and saw the home across the street," said Marie Lesniak.

Her house was soon burned and damaged. Two firefighters were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries related to the fire.

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