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updated: 11/4/2011 4:58 PM

Huntley fire kills 73-year-old man, hurts firefighter

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A Friday morning fire in Huntley's Sun City development killed a man believed to be 73 years old and injured a firefighter, authorities confirmed this afternoon.

At 10:34 a.m., the Huntley Fire Protection District arrived at the home in the 12700 block of Oak Grove Drive. Huntley police already were there and said there was a person inside the house.

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Kane County Coroner Chuck West said he doesn't have a positive identification yet on the man and authorities are trying to find next of kin. An autopsy will be conducted on Monday, he said.

Firefighters were hampered in their rescue efforts because of a flashover, which occurs when unburned particles and hot gas collect near the ceiling and ignite at once, Fire Chief Jim Saletta said.

"It's a quick event and then you can re-enter but if you're caught in it, you can get severely hurt," Saletta said. "It's one of the most feared phenomenon of firefighters."

At 10:55 a.m., fire personnel found the man dead in the kitchen, Saletta said, adding that he believed it to be a 73-year-old man who lived there alone. The fire originated in the kitchen and spread to the interior of the house. A firefighter who has been with the Huntley district for at least seven years suffered a minor burn during the flashover. He was treated and released from Centegra Immediate Care Center and returned to work, Saletta said.

The house sustained $160,000 in damage to its structure and $80,000 in its contents. A house next door to it had $10,000 in damage from melted siding, but remained inhabitable.

The fire was under control by 11:08 a.m.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation through the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Fire personnel from Carpentersville, South Elgin, Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, Rutland Dundee, Crystal Lake, Woodstock, Marengo and Genoa departments assisted.

• Check back for updates to this story.

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