Careless use of smoking materials is the suspected cause of a fire Wednesday morning in South Elgin that killed a man and a dog, officials said.
South Elgin Fire Protection District Chief Joe Cluchey said a woman called authorities at about 9 a.m., saying her house on the 100 block of Beck Avenue was filing up with smoke, her husband was in another room, and she could not leave because she was in a wheelchair.
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Cluchey said a South Elgin Police officer and a Kane County Sheriff's deputy arrived at the home and found her in the hallway near the door. They rescued the woman and a dog, but her husband and another dog died.
"We scooped her and got her the hell out of there," Cluchey said. "They were able to get her out but could not enter because of the heat and smoke."
Cluchey could not immediately provide the woman's name or age; Kane County Coroner Rob Russell identified the man as Thomas Hasier, 72, and said the cause of death is pending results of the entire investigation.
The woman was taken to Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin to be treated for minor injuries, Cluchey said.
Hasier was found in the hallway after firefighters pushed back the flames and were able to enter the house, Cluchey said.
He did not have any information about the two dogs.
"The house is a total loss. I don't have specific (damage) estimates at this time," Cluchey said, adding that firefighters did not observe nor hear any working smoke alarms at the home.
The fire was contained about 45 minutes after firefighters arrived; initial responders also were hampered by a frozen fire hydrant that was buried under snow, Cluchey said.
The official cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but authorities suspect the careless use of smoking materials, as in cigarettes, Cluchey said.
After the fire, traffic was being diverted from the area, including a portion of Route 31, for several hours.