3 firefighters hurt in Cary home blaze

One firefighter fell through a hole and into a burning basement, another received an electrical shock, and a third injured his leg Friday night as the Cary Fire Protection District called in reinforcements to extinguish a house fire in unincorporated McHenry County.

None of the injuries were life-threatening, but the "Mayday" distress call was the most traumatic event in his 26 years on the force, said Lt. Michael D. Douglass of the Cary Fire Protection District.

A firefighter was looking for the door to the basement, where the fire began, when the floor gave way.

"He was in the fire and trapped for a few minutes," Douglass said. The firefighter's partner immediately radioed the "Mayday" call and "they had a hose line and were able to keep him wet until they were able to pull him up through the hole he fell in," Douglass said.

The injured firefighter was taken to Good Shepard Hospital in Barrington, where he was listed in fair condition. The other two injured firefighters were admitted in good condition at the same hospital and later released.

A neighbor reported a fire in the home on the 200 block of Hickory Nut Grove Lane at 8:27 p.m., and an off-duty Cary firefighter who lives in the area got to the house a minute before other firefighters arrived at 8:31 p.m.

Because there are no hydrants in that neighborhood, firefighters trucked in water, which is poured into portable tanks that look like "big, folding swimming pools," Douglass said. More than three trucks and 10,000 gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire within 90 minutes.

Homeowner John Birt and family had left for a wake and dinner about three hours before the blaze began, Douglass said. Investigators have not determined the cause, but it doesn't appear suspicious, he said. The house is uninhabitable and will need major repairs, Douglass said.

Other fire departments that responded initially included Algonquin-Lake in the Hills, Barrington, Barrington-Countryside and Fox River Grove. Others that responded to an additional call for help included Crystal Lake, East Dundee, Lake Zurich, McHenry, Wauconda and Wonder Lake.

  Crews respond to a fire on the 200 block of Hickory Nut Grove Lane in Cary Friday evening. Three firefighters were injured, including one who fell through a floor into the basement. Patrick Kunzer/
  Crews respond to a fire on the 200 block of Hickory Nut Grove Lane in Cary Friday evening. The house will need major repairs as a result of the fire. Patrick Kunzer/
  Crews responded to a fire on the 200 block of Hickory Nut Grove Lane in Cary Friday evening. The homeowners had left for a wake a few hours before the blaze. Patrick Kunzer/
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