“LEXINGTON â€” Firefighters from two departments spent more than seven hours battling a blaze near Lexington on Wednesday that claimed the life of one person and destroyed a rural home.
Firefighters responded about 11 a.m. to the call at 24219 E. 2700 North Road, about two miles north of Lexington. They arrived to find a single-story home engulfed.
According to a statement from the McLean County coronerâ€™s office, firefighters found a deceased person in the kitchen of the residence. The identity of the victim has not been released and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday in Bloomington.
Lexington Fire Chief Jim Berry said about 35 to 40 firefighters worked the fire throughout the day in bitterly cold conditions.
â€œJust trying to keep warm and walk around was a challenge,â€ said Berry.
Lexington firefighters were assisted by crews from Gridley, Towanda, Ellsworth, Chenoa, Hudson, Colfax, Cooksville and Normal. The State Fire Marshal’s office, McLean County Fire Investigation Team and Red Cross also assisted
Flood lights were used to illuminate the scene for firefighters who remained after dark to sift through rubble for the source of smoke that still filled the air. A layer of ice covered the area around the home, the result of fire hoses pouring water for hours on the structure.
The fire in the home, a former country schoolhouse built in the 1860s, according to information given to Berry, â€œhad a really good head start,â€ said the fire chief.
A family member of the victim who also lived in the home told firefighters that a person was inside, said Berry.
â€œWe knew there was someone inside and what we were up against. We had to fight it from the outside until we could make entry,â€ a process that took about an hour, he said.
The state fire marshalâ€™s office is investigating the cause of the fire.
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