Neighbors rally around owners of home destroyed by fire in Elgin

  • No one was injured in a fire this morning that destroyed a single-family home on 300 block of Park Street in Elgin, Battalion Chief Rich Carter said.

    No one was injured in a fire this morning that destroyed a single-family home on 300 block of Park Street in Elgin, Battalion Chief Rich Carter said. Courtesy Dan Symonds

  • The fire started in the basement and quickly spread to the second floor of the home on the 300 block of Park Street in Elgin, officials said.

    The fire started in the basement and quickly spread to the second floor of the home on the 300 block of Park Street in Elgin, officials said. Courtesy Dan Symonds

  • The fire call on the 300 block of Park Street in Elgin came in around 6:35 a.m. and firefighters started to leave the scene at 11 a.m.

    The fire call on the 300 block of Park Street in Elgin came in around 6:35 a.m. and firefighters started to leave the scene at 11 a.m. Courtesy Dan Symonds

 
 
Updated 1/16/2019 4:37 PM

Neighbors are rounding up donations and a school started a GoFundMe page for an Elgin family whose home was destroyed in a fire this morning.

A call came in about 6:30 a.m. about a fire in the single-family home on the 300 block of Park Street, Elgin Fire Battalion Chief Rich Carter said.

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Firefighters arrived within three minutes and were told by the residents, who got out safely, that the fire was in the basement, Carter said.

"The initial crews worked to advance into the basement but were unable to gain access due to a combination of heat and excessive storage," he said. Within 10 to 15 minutes, the fire spread to the second floor of the home, Carter said. The loss is preliminarily estimated at $200,000, he said.

Lynn Martin, director of strategic marketing and communications at Elgin Academy, created the GoFundMe for homeowners Erik and Joey Crist, whose son Brogan attended the school until his graduation in 2015 and is now in college. The home is a block from the school, also on Park Avenue.

"It is characteristic of our Elgin Academy community to want to support the Crist family as they go through this difficult time. Our hearts go out to them," she said.

The GoFundMe has a goal of $2,000 and reached $1,300 by this afternoon. The Crists couldn't be reached for comment.

The owners of Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, also nearby on Park Street, are asking people to donate gift cards for food, clothes and other necessities, as well as items for personal care and comfort. Clothes donations are accepted in sizes 3X for men and 3X for women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"They lost everything in their home and are currently in an extended stay hotel," Dan and Joy Symonds wrote on Facebook. "We want to help give back and help this family in our community because this community means everything to us."

People can drop off donations during business hours at the funeral home, 305 Park St., or call (847) 741-1128 after business hours. The YWCA Elgin also donated clothing, Joy Symonds said.

Carter said the fire call was upgraded to a second-level box alarm and 11 other fire departments assisted either at the scene or for station coverage. The American Red Cross came to assist the residents, Carter said.

The fire spread quickly because the older home didn't have "firestops," or wood planks placed horizontally between wall studs that slow down fire, Carter said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"The studs in the wall ... they go from the basement to the attic with no firestops," he said. "When you get fire in the basement, it runs right up through the attic."

It takes much longer for heat to conduct through firestops, which give firefighters more time to put out fires, he said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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