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Lamp may have sparked fatal leaf River fire

LEAF RIVER – The cause of the Nov. 10 house fire that killed a young Leaf River volunteer firefighter may have been a living room lamp.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is ruling the cause of the blaze at 209 W. Second St. undetermined, but investigator Mitchell S. Kushner was able to determine that the fire began on the first floor, along the west wall of the living room.

A table lamp was plugged in and sat on a wooden chest in front of the window on that wall.

Wires were found still plugged into the outlet and there was a “V” pattern that “traveled upwards and outwards” from that area, but remains of the lamp itself could not be found, Kushner said in his report.

The home did have working smoke detectors, the report said.

Greg Wood, 19, a first-year firefighter, and his dog died in a second-floor bedroom.

His father Marcus Wood, 44, deputy chief of the volunteer fire department, and his brother Travis, 16, a cadet firefighter, were treated for burns at a Rockford hospital, and his mother Nicole, 40, an EMT for the department, was treated and released
that day.

The fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. at the house, which was just a block from the fire station. It has since been demolished.

The home belonged to Lazette Rasmussen of Chana.

Greg graduated from Forreston High in May. He was a member of the Leaf River Fire Department Volunteer Cadet Program, and had just completed EMT classes. He and his father also volunteered for the German Valley Fire Department.

The Leaf River Fire Department set up a fund for the family at German American State Bank. Checks can be sent to the bank at P.O. Box 89, German Valley, IL 61039, or dropped off at any branch, with “Woods family” in the memo field.

In addition, a fundraiser begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at Rumors sports bar, 114 Main St. in Leaf River, with music by DJ Trygg, drink specials, basket raffles and a 50-50 raffle at 8 p.m. Donation jars will be placed around the bar, and all proceeds will be given to the Wood family.

Call 815-738-6116 for more information.

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