The father of two girls, ages 5 and 8, who died in a house fire in Ingleside on Thursday issued a brief update, saying he is trying to stay strong and is thankful for the community’s support. Over $130,000 has been raised for the family.
A preliminary autopsy conducted Friday indicated Autumn Evans, 5, and Elizabeth Evans, 8, both died from smoke inhalation, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
The fire started around 10:50 p.m. Thursday at the family’s home in the 35000 block of North Hunt Avenue in Ingleside.
The Fox Lake Fire Protection District arrived and found a two-story residence heavily engulfed in flames, according to Deputy Fire Chief Ed Lescher.
The mother, her 17-year-old son, and the grandfather escaped the home with injuries. The grandmother had to be rescued by firefighters.
The grandmother was transported by a medical helicopter to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in critical condition with burn and smoke inhalation injuries, authorities said.
The other three victims were transported by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville and two of them were later transferred to Loyola University Medical Center.
Firefighters found the two girls deceased inside the house on the second floor after the fire was extinguished, Lescher said, adding that firefighters tried numerous times to enter the home to save them.
A GoFundMe page, organized by Bridget Lavelle, has already raised more than $130,000 in donations in one day for the Evans family.
“Thank you everyone for your kind words and all the help and support you have shown and given. I am truly grateful for every last person,” said Teig Prickett, the father of Autumn and Elizabeth.
The mother, grandfather, and grandmother remain at Loyola Medical Center in critical condition.
“Katie, Scott, and Dori are on breathing tubes because of the internal damage on their lungs from the smoke and heat. The tubes are in place to help clear out their lungs as well as keeping the air passage from possibly swelling shut. They are all stable, but not completely out of the woods,” Prickett said.
“Scott and Dori are a bit more severe and will require a bit longer to heal. Katie is moderate. We are hopeful for everyone to heal and from everyone in the family we truly appreciate EVERYONES support through our tragedy,” Prickett added.
“I am not ready to talk about my precious girls because it hurts too much and I am trying to keep it together for my family. I will truly grieve soon, but for now I must stay strong. Again, thank you to everyone. I love you all so very much,” he said.
The 17-year-old son is in stable condition at Advocate Condell Medical Center and Prickett said the boy is expected to be discharged on Saturday. The family’s dog and cat both died in the blaze.
“Please help this family in their time of need. They will have many obstacles to overcome in the wake of this great tragedy, any help in this time of need is appreciated,” Lavelle said in the GoFundMe.
Lake County Sheriff Spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said that deputies who arrived first at the scene tried to make entry to the home but couldn’t due to the intensity of the fire.
Deputies were able to assist the three victims who initially made it out of the home and brought them to safety away from the flames.
The sheriff’s office sent detectives and an arson investigator to the scene. The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and their arson canine also responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.
Covelli said there is no indication to believe the fire was arson. The origin and circumstances of the fire remain under investigation by the Fox Lake Fire Protection District, Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Fire Marshal.