2 girls, 8 and 5, killed in Ingleside house fire; 4 adults injured

INGLESIDE, Ill. (WLS) -- Two girls have died after a house fire in northwest suburban Ingleside Thursday night which injured four adults, fire officials said.

The fire broke out in a home at 35700-block of North Hunt Avenue at about 10:45 p.m. and the house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters responded quickly but there was little they could do to help the six family members escape the burning home.

Neighbors scrambled outside shocked to see the home up in flames.

"I ran out and saw the whole house engulfed and it was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen in my life," said Kathleen Donnelly.

Katie Evans, her parents and three children were inside. Evans' two girls, 8-year-old Elizabeth and 5-year-old Autumn, were unable to escape.

"The girls were just the sweetest. Always laughing and smiling," said family friend Bridget Lavelle. "The best family."

They were an amazing family,' added Anthony Falcone, another family friend.

Evans was able to jump out of a window after the fire became too intense, but her daughters were still inside.

"She was in shock and she said. 'They're dead. They're both dead because there was no way that they could survive it,' and she went and looked for 'em but couldn't find them," Donnelly said.

Fire officials said they rescued the children's grandmother about 15 feet behind a back door on the first floor. The fire prevented them from searching for the children.

Firefighters had to battle the flames before they could go back in.

"The first female was found in an upstairs bedroom in the 2nd story bedroom and the second female was found in the 2nd story hallway just outside the bedroom door," Fox Lake Fire Protection District Chief Ed Lescher.

Authorities have not released the identities of the girls.

Fire officials said the girls' father, mother and grandfather made it out with burns and smoke inhalation. The little girls' 17-year-old brother got out as well.

The neighborhood is traumatized by what they saw unfold.

"It was just scary watching it and it was sad knowing that those two little girls were in there and they hadn't gotten out," said neighbor Diane Barty.

The tight-knit community is remembering the children as bubbly and full of life, and praying are for the family. The tragedy of their deaths is unimaginable to those who knew them.

"I mean I remember talking to them recently about not being able to go to school because of COVID and they were excited about getting back to school and it's just heartbreaking," Barty said.

Surviving family said they have lost everything but have already received more than $90,000 in donations on their GoFundMe.

The cause of the fire is not known and is not believed to be suspicious.
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