ALL THAT WAS left after a destructive fire burned through a Custer Park home was bricks and the foundation of what was once a front porch.
by Tonya Michalec Staff writer
A family unaware of a fire raging next door were safe from harm's way thanks to frantic actions of their pet.
Just before 10 p.m. Sunday, Custer Park resident Greg Carik was relaxing with family members before heading off to bed when he noticed that something was not quite right with his dog.
"Our dog had been acting up for a while that evening and at first we didn't pay no attention to it," Carik said. "Then we started hearing a popping sound coming from outside and the dog was getting more and more excited."
Carik explained he then looked out a side window to see the house next door engulfed in flames.
"When I looked out, the flames were everywhere and the portion of the exposed basement wall was glowing bright orange," Carik said.
At that point, he immediately dialed 911 for help.
Braidwood's first responders rushed #11 on Calhoon Lane, a private lane south Custer Park in the river side of Illinois 113.
According to Braidwood Fire Protection District Chief Ken Heberer, the homes there are generally cabins that are often times occupied during the summer months.
The chief explained that the small house was thankfully unoccupied.
"By the time the neighbor heard the popping and their dog started barking, the fire had already fully engulfed the basement and the home's only main floor," Heberer said.
Carik said that the river-front home has been owned for many years by a brother and sister from Chicago, Jim and Elsa Kruegar. He added that the family members share the home and use it as a getaway cottage over the years, but as time expires they have used it less and less.
"They used to come all the time, but for the past two years they may come down here and there for the day, but very rarely did they ever stay over night," Carik explained.
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