Crews battle brush fire in Kankakee County

PEMBROKE TOWNSHIP, Ill. — Emergency crews from agencies and home owners were battling a brush fire that had scorched four square miles in Pembroke Townshipp, Ill., on Tuesday.

Firefighters from as far away at Milford to the south and East Joliet in Will County were called in. Officials said it was a brush fire near Central and New York roads in the township, which is located in Kankakee County.

"As much as we are trying to extinguish the fire, we are also trying to protect residents and their homes in the area, Manteno Chief Scott O'Brien said.

O'Brien said two firefighters and a resident were checked on scene for possible injuries.

On Monday, firefighters from several departments battled a brush fire near today's scene for 10 hours, leaving around 11 p.m., according to O'Brien.

O'Brien briefed the media at 2 p.m.

Kris Mathers, a property owner, was battling the fire.

"I'm fighting the fire with a shovel, that's all I have," he said as he traveled down the road on motorcycle.

Nefatara Maxwell lives around the block from her two brothers, who live on Dickerson. She is a caretaker to one of the brothers.

"My main concern is making sure my brother is okay because he is disabled," Maxwell said.

"If the fire department doesn't get out here in time, we know what to do. We fight fires with wet rugs, shovels, and we have big garbage cans full of water. We know what to do."

Residents were dumping gallon buckets of water on the grass around their homes to keep the flames from reaching their homes.

Via scanner traffic, personnel said they believed a person was setting fires. Kankakee County sheriff's police were called to the scene.

Pembroke personnel were called approximately 10 a.m. to a rekindle of a Monday fire.

They were dispatched to South 11000E Road and East 4000S Road.

Winds appeared to be pushing the fire toward the east.

Firefighters were battling to keep the fire from jumping 12000E Road (South Dickerson Street) toward Hopkins Park.

At 10:25 a.m., a box alarm was called for addition departments, which was followed seven minutes later by a third alarm.

One firefighter told other departments to "be careful, the fire is moving very fast."

Numerous tenders (water carriers) were called from various departments.