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Family ‘lucky’ after waking to four explosions, garage fire

Long Grove firefighters work extinguish flames thburst out Johnstfamily's garage Monday morning. (Courtesy Charlie Johnston)

Long Grove firefighters work to extinguish the flames that burst out of the Johnston family's garage Monday morning. (Courtesy of Charlie Johnston)

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Updated: September 21, 2013 6:14AM

“I woke up to multiple explosions.”

That was how Charlie Johnston described his Monday morning, when a fire engulfed the garage of his Long Grove home.

Charlie, his brother Henry, their father Mark and his wife Lourdes all escaped without injury, and they expect the rest of the structure to be salvageable.

The family, which lives on the 3200 block of Victorian Drive, awoke at about 6:30 a.m. to the sounds of four blasts, likely the tires of two cars in their garage exploding.

Henry, who is about to begin his freshman year at Buffalo Grove High School, and Charlie, who will be a junior, have bedrooms directly above the garage, but said they saw no smoke or flames until they got outside.

“It just went from smoke to flames,” Mark said.

They fled immediately and called 911. Safely outside the home after the flames were doused, the Johnston family credited the fast response of the Long Grove Fire Protection District and neighboring departments with saving the majority of their home.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office blocked state Route 53 from state Route 83 to Victorian Drive, but opened it shortly after.

The fire’s cause and an estimate on damage were not yet available. The two cars in the garage were charred and a third car in the driveway has a singed rear bumper.

“We’re very lucky,” Lourdes said.

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