Illinois Fire Dancer Accidentally Sets Townhouse on Fire

A firetruck races to the scene of an accident.
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One person has been hospitalized after a “fire dancing” practice session ignited a Volo, Illinois, home on Wednesday.

The Illinois Fox Lake Fire Protection District and Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call around 7:08 p.m. on Wednesday evening. They arrived to find smoke and flame billowing from a townhouse garage — allegedly caused by a group of “fire performers” in a practice session gone awry.

The performers were practicing around accelerants stored in the garage. When one of them lost their grip on a fiery prop, things quickly burned out of control. “This caused a fire which spread quickly,” Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said. “The fire caused extensive damage to the townhome and did spread to adjoining townhome units.”

The fire “completely destroyed the townhouse where it occurred and caused some significant damage to the two adjoining townhomes as well,” Covelli continued. And while there were initial reports of an explosion, he confirmed that no evidence of such was found at the scene. “It could have sounded like one,” he said. “Commonly in fires, it’s very loud, the burning sound, and the crackling of wood can sometimes be confused as an explosion.”

An unidentified 52-year-old woman was transported to Northwestern Medicine Hospital in McHenry with burn injuries not considered life-threatening. Despite the seemingly obvious nature of the source, officials will still conduct an arson investigation. There will also be an investigation of the alleged assault of an unnamed freelance photographer during the initial chaos.

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