Calumet City

Millions of Gallons of Water Hauled In to Fight Huge Memorial Day Fire Near Starved Rock State Park

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Memorial Day at a popular resort in a rural area near Starved Rock State Park turned dangerous Monday evening when seven cabins caught fire, according to the Utica Fire Protection District.

Approximately 200 firefighters and 61 fire departments were on the scene fighting the blaze into Tuesday morning, when crews were still working to put out hotspots.

While more than two dozen units across seven cabins in Grand Bear Resort were burned and damaged, no injuries were reported thanks to quick action and evacuations from law enforcement, the Utica Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Drew Partain said during a press conference Tuesday.

"Law enforcement got here extremely quickly was able to knock on doors and get all the people out of these affected buildings very quickly. We don't know of any injuries or any problems that we're having on the fire ground. No firefighter injuries, no civilian injuries which was awesome," Partain said.

The fire began in Cabin 18-3, and spread from there, according to fire officials.

"Once that first building became fully involved with fire, it started throwing hot embers and ashes on all the buildings that were directly north downwind. So that's what caused so quickly to have all those cabins on fire."

Photos posted to social media showed several cabins at the resort had erupted into flames, with clouds of smoke pouring from the buildings.

Because the resort is rural area with no fire hydrants, all the water to fight the fire by trucks.

"We had approximately 40 trucks hauling water in. I can't tell you how many gallons we used, but it was in the 5-10 million range," Partain continued.

Seven vehicles that were parked in front of the cabins were also burned by the blaze, Partain said, but the water park and hotel on site were not affected.

The American Red Cross was called to the scene and is currently assisting those displaced by the fire.

The fire is currently under investigation but it is not believed to be suspicious in nature, officials said.

This is the second major fire at the resort in four years. In January 2018, a four-alarm fire broke out at the resort's lodge, resulting in multiple fire departments to be called to the scene.

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