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Lake County fire crews attack 2 blazes within 12 hours

JuanitBlack unincorporated Russell said her barking dog made her look outside Thursday night that's when she saw her husband's hobby

Juanita Black of unincorporated Russell said her barking dog made her look outside Thursday night and that's when she saw her husband's hobby shed fully involved in flames. | Frank Abderholden/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 8, 2014 6:12AM

Two fires in northern Lake County just 12 hours apart Thursday caused more than $100,000 worth of damage to a garage in unincorporated Russell and a fire in Zion forced a family out of their home just before the holidays.

Dan Florek, 56, of Zion, said he was on his way to work when he got a call from his daughter that there had been a fire in the upstairs of their two-story home where his daughters and grandson were sleeping.

At 6 a.m., Florek’s daughter, Christina, 23, smelled smoke and rushed to get everyone out of the house, 1911 Galilee St.

“It started in her bedroom at an electrical outlet. Once they all got outside and called 911 the smoke detectors went off,” he said.

“It’s just a bunch of collectables and personal stuff the kids have that got destroyed,” Florek added. “But we’re OK and stuff can be replaced, you can’t replace a human life.”

The Zion Fire Department was at the scene for nearly two hours after arriving about 6 a.m. Officials confirmed it was an electrical fire. There was no damage estimate, but the upstairs was destroyed, Florek said.

“The insurance company is going to find us a place to live until we can fix it up,” he said.

At 43055 N. Delany Road in unincorporated Russell, Juanita Black said she was in the lower level of her home around 8:30 p.m. Thursday when she heard her dog barking.

“I looked outside and saw my husband’s garage in flames,” she said. “It’s just a hobby, but we were storing some friend’s cars inside.”

John Brewer, Newport Township Fire Protection District’s fire marshal, said the cause is still under investigation. He said damage was estimated at $50,000 to $100,000, “but that could be low. There were six cars destroyed,” he said.

The fire destroyed the metal structure that was 60-feet by 100-feet. The fire required a three-alarm response because the rural area did not have any fire hydrants and they needed extra tanker trucks to put out the blaze.

Approximately 12 tankers and 6 engines from fire departments in Lake, McHenry and Kenosha county’s responded and remained there until about 11 p.m., Brewer said.

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