4 children, 2 adults killed in rural northern Illinois fire
DIXON, Ill. (AP) — Four children and two adults from the same family died in a house fire early Tuesday in rural northern Illinois, according to the local sheriff.
Authorities received a 911 call just after midnight reporting smoke in the basement of a home outside Dixon in the unincorporated community of Lost Nation, according to the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters arrived to find the home “fully engulfed” in the blaze.
Investigators haven’t found anything suspicious about the fire, Sheriff Brian VanVickle said.
The sheriff’s office identified the victims as 39-year-old Timothy Shaw, 37-year-old Melissa Shaw, 17-year-old Ethan Shaw, 15-year-old LeAnne Shaw, 12-year-old Hailey Shaw and 11-year-old Dylan Shaw.
Autopsies conducted Tuesday determined the victims died from smoke inhalation.
The ages of the children haven’t been released and autopsies are planned, he said. Ogle County Corner Louis Finch said the bodies were so badly burned that his office needed dental records to determine identification.
VanVickle said the home’s roof collapsed. He said a few walls were left, “but there’s not much remaining of the residence.”
Capt. Isaac Demmig of the Dixon Rural Fire Department said it was impossible for firefighters to enter the house until the fire was brought under control, but when they did go inside they found that all six were dead.
First responders from 10 fire departments responded to the blaze, according to Demmig. Authorities said once the fire was extinguished six victims were located in the residence, one on the second floor, four on the first floor and one in the basement.
The sheriff’s office, Illinois State Fire Marshal and Illinois State Police are investigating the cause of the fire.
VanVickle described Lost Nation as a subdivision in a woodsy area with a lake in a very rural and remote part of the county. It is about 90 miles (150 kilometers) west of downtown Chicago.
“I’ve talked with some of the neighbors and it’s a typical Midwest community where most people know their neighbors and are friends with them,” VanVickle said.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the sheriff’s last name to VanVickle, not VanVinkle.