Excerpts the NWHerald.com:

About noon Sunday, dispatchers sent the Harvard Fire Protection District to a home in the 19000 block of Altenburg Road. Because of an ambulance call across town, the district’s first engine company only had three firefighters available instead of the usual five, Deputy Fire Chief Don Davidson said. Crews had trouble getting to the house. 

“We had a long, narrow driveway with trees and such,” Davidson said. “They dinged the engine going in there on a tree. It was an accident.”

The first company was able to navigate around the tree and make it to the house. Crews found the homeowner with minor burns. He was taken to Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center in Harvard, from which he later was released.

Firefighters from 14 departments across McHenry County spent the next eight hours fighting the fire. Collectibles and other items cluttered the house and made the fire difficult to battle. At some point in the night, the fire became too hot for firefighters to enter the home to extinguish the flames.

After several attempts to battle the blaze from within, crews switched to a defensive mode to keep the fire from spreading. An excavator arrived at the scene and pulled back the walls of the house to allow crews better access.

Firefighters finished about  8 p.m. Sunday. The homeowner requested that crews suspend putting any more water on the house. There were collectibles in the basement, and he wanted to preserve any chance of salvaging them. 

“We honored his request,” Davidson said. “He didn’t want his basement filled with water. I could have overruled him. [I’m] as concerned about his emotions as the fire itself.” 

When firefighters left the scene Sunday night, there were spots where smoke still was visible

The fire later rekindled. Crews returned to the house about 4 a.m. Tuesday to extinguish the flames. The fire caused more than $500,000 in damage.

The cause of the fire still is under investigation.