Tragic house fire killing 6 affects first responders involved

DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) -- A community grieves the loss of six members of the Shaw family killed in a house fire on Tuesday. This loss has not only affected friends and family, but also first responders.

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle tells 23 News the State Fire Marshal went back out to the rural Dixon home Wednesday to continue the investigation, but when evidence is destroyed that becomes difficult, so they may not be able to tell us exactly what caused this tragic accident.

A memorial sits in front of what used to be the Shaw family's home. The house was engulfed in flames, so responding firefighters couldn't get near the structure when they arrived on scene. Neighbors told 23 News they heard a loud explosion that night. Sheriff VanVickles says there was a lawnmower in the backyard, so the sound was probably either from the fuel tank or the tires exploding. He says this heartbreaking situation has a big impact on our first responders.

"You don't understand what dispatchers, law enforcement and firefighters do until you stand in their boots or their shoes, so that's why we really try to take care of our own and make sure they're good because they're our family and we want to take care of them. It's going to take a lot of time to heal from this. Everybody's still possessed with the good memories and that's what you have to hold onto now," said Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle.

On Tuesday night the Dixon Fire Department held a debriefing to discuss what was going on. Sheriff VanVickle said his department reached out to the Ogle and Lee County dispatchers and fire departments to make sure everyone is okay and aware of the resources available to help them get through this hard situation.

The State Fire Marshal tells 23 News there is still a lot of debris to sift through, but at this time investigators believe they don't have evidence that there were working smoke alarms in the home.