EAST PEORIA — An early-Friday house fire claimed a life just west of Germantown Hills, authorities said.

The blaze, at 295 Old Germantown Road, marks the first fire fatality in the 56-year history of the Germantown Hills Fire Protection District, said Ed Madden, the department's assistant chief.

The occupant of the residence, James Reeves, 69, was pronounced dead at the scene by Tim Ruestman, the Woodford County coroner. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The fire call came in at 2:47 a.m., with firefighters also responding from Metamora and Spring Bay. They arrived to find the dwelling fully engulfed in flame.

"The flames were shooting up 30 feet," Madden said. "That's indicative of the fire burning for a long time."

About 45 firefighters needed about a half hour to extinguish the blaze. The structure remained smoldering hours later.

No one else was inside the home at the time of the fire, Madden said.