Cause of fatal fire still unknown

© 2017-Ogle County Life

A fire in rural Dixon that killed a family of six is still under investigation, but it does not appear to be suspicious, said Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle.

“We are fairly confident it wasn’t arson,” VanVickle said of the early-morning fire on Nov. 21.

 Killed in the fire were Timothy Shaw, 39; Melissa Shaw, 37; Ethan Shaw, 17; LeAnne Shaw, 15; Hailey Shaw, 12; and Dylan Shaw, 11.

According to the Ogle County coroner, all six members of the family died from smoke inhalation.  

VanVickle said the call about the fire came into the 911 dispatch center just after midnight, with Ethan Shaw saying he was trapped in his basement bedroom of the home at 204 N. Miami Dr., in the community of Lost Nations and it was filling with smoke.

“It was a 911 call to our dispatch center from one of the residents who had a room in the basement, and he couldn’t get out of the basement,” VanVickle said.

When firefighters arrived, the house was “fully engulfed,” according the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office.

Dixon Rural, Dixon City, Franklin Grove, Sterling, Polo, Ashton, Oregon and Mount Morris fire departments along with Advance Ambulance responded to the fire.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that once the fire was extinguished, the six victims were located in the home – one on the second floor, four on the first floor and one in the basement.

Chad Bergstrom, assistant chief with the Oregon Fire Department, said Oregon sent a water tanker and two firefighters to the blaze. He said it is common for many departments to respond to rural fires.

VanVickle said this is a reminder to everyone that early warning devices can help alert a family in case of fire.

“Smoke detectors save lives,” he said.

This was the second fatal fire in Ogle County this month. On Nov. 10, 19-year-old Gregory Wood was killed in a house fire in Leaf River. Two others were injured in that fire, which is still under investigation.

The Ogle Sheriff's Office, Illinois Fire Marshal Illinois State Police Crime Scene personnel are investigating the cause of the fire in Lost Nations.


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