DIXON – A woman's body was found Friday morning in a home west of Dixon that was destroyed by fire a few hours earlier.
A man and a woman lived in the house, but the man wasn't there at the time of the fire, neighbors say. Aas fire crews worked at the scene, he was outside the home being comforted by others.
County Coroner Jesse Partington would not release the woman's name Friday night, saying the family had asked that it be withheld until after the autopsy is completed today.
Lee County Sheriff John Varga said fire crews were called at 4:19 a.m. to the home at 1787 Clearview Road, near Granny Rose Animal Shelter.
"The house is mostly gone," Chief Norris Tucker Jr. said. "It was a fully involved fire."
The home is near the end of a dead-end road, in a neighborhood with large, well-kept lawns.
The couple's split-level house is destroyed, with one side nearly leveled. A car was charred.
In the next-door neighbor's driveway, a group of people appeared distraught. A woman hugged an upset man. A television reporter was stationed in front of the house.
Officials had been barring media and others from getting near the site of the fire, until the scene was opened about 12:15 p.m. Clearview Road had been blocked off.
Neighbors got through, though. A postal carrier also was allowed.
Niky Druien, a neighbor down the street from the house, said she was in the shower about 4 a.m. when she thought she heard gunshots.
"I thought it was hunters," Druien said. "I looked out and the house was fully engulfed in flames. It was bad."
She called 911.
"There were two guys out on the street," Druien said. "The fire department wasn't here yet."
Dick Vivian, another neighbor, said he was picking up the newspaper shortly before 5 a.m. when he saw the fire. He walked a little ways.
"I saw a lot of smoke and could smell it," he said, adding that nothing could be saved.