Leaf River community mourns firefighter killed in house fire - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Leaf River community mourns firefighter killed in house fire

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LEAF RIVER (WREX) -

The Leaf River Fire Department and community is mourning the loss of one of their own. 

The department says it responded to a house fire around midnight on Thursday. 

It turned out to be the home to a family of firefighters. All four work within that department. 

One of those living in the home was 19-year old Gregory wood -- the Ogle County Coroner's Office says he died in that fire. Other family members were taken to the hospital for treatment. We know one of them has been released. 


"Me, my wife and my son all got woken up to somebody beating on the door," Leaf River Fire Chief Steve Shelton says.   

Shelton says it's a wake up call no chief wants to get. 

"It's not something that you prepare for," he says. 

Shelton is talking about the blaze that took the life of 19-year-old Gregory Wood Friday morning. Wood was also one of Shelton's firefighters.

"It was fun to watch him and the other young guys at the station -- they liked to joke with each other and have fun, but they knew that when the bell went off it was business and they took it very serious and were very dedicated." 

Julie Oltmanns lives just down the street and says the commotion got her family right out of bed. 

"I looked up the street and just saw this house engulfed in flames," she says. 

Oltmanns says she's shocked to see such a tragic thing happen so close to home.

"My heart just goes out to them," she says. "I just pray that they're okay and try to get them through it." 

In the meantime, Shelton says he's working with his to crew to remember a son, brother and leaf river firefighter. 

"He was a very energetic individual and very passionate about what he did," Shelton says.  

A legacy Shelton hopes the community will never forget. 

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