Officials from McHenry County and the Illinois State Fire Marshall's office are sorting out the damage and seeking the cause of a fiery explosion early Sunday morning that destroyed one house and damaged dozens of others.
Marengo Fire Protection District Battalion Chief John Kimmel said Monday morning that no one was seriously injured in the blast or in fires at several neighboring homes. The owners of the destroyed house were not at home, and two neighbors suffered only minor burns. They were treated at Centegra Hospital McHenry in Woodstock and released fairly quickly, Kimmel said.
Kimmel said a preliminary inspection found at least 50 houses in the area suffered varying degrees of damage, with up to 18 considered uninhabitable at this time.
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said in a Facebook post that county inspectors were assisting in the inspections. Franks said the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency was coordinating relief efforts through the Red Cross, with the McHenry County Sheriff providing additional support.
Kimmel said it appears that the explosion was accidental. But, he said, a determination of the exact cause will have to wait for the results of the Fire Marshal's investigation.
The Red Cross and the county's Emergency Management Agency were taking care of affected residents at Marengo High School.
Franks said those wishing to help should call the City of Marengo at 815-568-7112 to find out how they can best be of assistance.