ORANGEVILLE — Two boys, ages 4 and 11, and their father died after their Orangeville home went up in flames early Wednesday, Sept. 16.
The Stephenson County Sheriff's Office has not yet released the names of the victims.
Firefighters were dispatched to the house at 305 S. Main St. shortly before 3 a.m. and arrived to find it "heavily involved," said Orangeville Fire Chief Pat Widolff.
"The front half of the house was severely burned, and of course that created a lot of smoke," Widolff said.
A subsequent search located the three victims inside, the only people home at the time. The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office is conducting a fire investigation, which is standard procedure for any fatal fire.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The house was built in the early 1900s and had an addition from the 1970s.
About three dozen firefighters worked to put out the fire. Assisting fire departments came from Cedarville, McConnell, Winslow, Davis, Dakota, Freeport Rural and Monroe, which provided a truck with an aerial lift.
Firefighters were on scene until about 9:30 or 10 a.m., Widolff said that afternoon, adding that "it's been a long day so it's a little fuzzy."
"It's a sad day. It's a tragedy," he said.
A fund has been set up for the family of the fire victims. Orangeville Community Bank is accepting monetary donations in the name of Alisha Johannsen.
Orangeville resident Ruthie Komprood said her son went to school with the 11-year-old victim and Johannsen is the fiancée/mother of the victims.
"We are trying to raise money as she has lost her entire family and all of her possessions," she said.