The community is raising money for the Beelow family after one of their farm’s barns along with critical farming machinery was destroyed in a large fire in Mundelein last week.
The Mundelein Fire Department responded around 5:32 p.m. Wednesday to the 3800 block of West Route 60 in Mundelein for a report of a barn fire.
Mundelein Deputy Fire Chief Jeremy Lockwood said firefighters arrived to find a fully involved barn fire.
The fire presented a direct exposure to an adjacent hoop-style hay barn with heavy machinery parked inside.
The property is located in an area that does not have fire hydrants close by.
Lockwood said water supply and scene access presented challenges to initial arriving firefighters.
Firefighters went into defensive mode and used fire hoses to protect structures around the barn.
The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was activated to the box alarm level to bring water tender trucks to the scene. The alarm was later upgraded to the second level as the incident progressed.
Mutual aid fire departments established a rural water supply and assisted in the initial firefighting operations, Lockwood said.
Approximately 2,500 feet of large diameter supply hose was used to establish a secure water source for firefighting operations.
The fire was reported under control at approximately 6:30 p.m. No residents or animals were injured as a result of the fire.
Beelow Farms said in a statement that all of their animals are safe but their shop was destroyed along with part of a storage shed.
“We wanted to thank everyone who reached out about the fire last night… we are thankful for all of the fire departments in Lake County who came to our aid. We appreciate all of the love and support,” the statement said last week.
Maria DeVito, a family friend of the Beelows, said the family has been part of Mundelein since the 1920s owning over 80 acres of now third-generation farmland operated by Duane and Karen Beelow.
The fire was “devasting” to the family and affected their farming business, DeVito said.
“Although no individuals or livestock was lost in this tragic accident, the Beelow Farm has lost a barn, critical farming machinery & equipment that allows them to operate daily,” DeVito said.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help the Beelow family following the fire. It has raised over $7,500 in the past day by more than 50 donors.
“Duane & Karen Beelow take great passion in their agricultural & livestock farming business that allows to serve the greater community around them,” DeVito said.
Lockwood said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Lake County Fire Investigators Strike Team and the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal were requested to aid in the investigation.
The fire was fought by 90 firefighters staffing seven fire engines, two aerial ladders, one squad, three ambulances, seven water tenders and nine chief cars.
Firefighters from Antioch, Countryside, Lake Zurich, Grayslake, Gurnee, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Libertyville, Long Grove, Buffalo Grove, Newport, McHenry, Round Lake, Wauconda, Fox Lake, Lake Villa, Nunda Rural and Waukegan assisted.