AP NEWS

Single-story home on 11th St. uninhabitable after Wednesday morning fire

March 13, 2019

DeKALB – A one-story home at 502 South 11th St. has been ruled uninhabitable after a fire ripped through part of it just before 6 a.m. Wednesday, DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff McMaster said.

A call for a structure fire went out at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday, McMaster said, adding the fire was under control by about 7:15 a.m.

“Upon arrival, units found heavy fire coming from the back side of the house extended to the house next door,” McMaster said. “One house was on fire and [there was] heat damage to the house next door on the left. Firefighters pulled a fire hose and, from the exterior, washed down the back of the house,” McMaster said. “Then they relocated into the interior of the house to knock the bulk of the fire.”

McMaster said a power line near the house had also dropped to the ground when crews arrived, and a water main near the house broke when firefighters hooked up to the hydrant in front of the house.

“The fire hydrant that the fire engine was using actually broke, so it flooded the street,” McMaster said. “But [DeKalb Public Works crews] went and cleared out all the drainage and were able to get the water out.”

ComEd and Nicor were called to shut off the electricity and gas to the house so crews could fight the fire.

McMaster said no one was home at the time of the fire, and a resident in the neighboring house was treated by paramedics and released on the scene. No details on the condition of the person or what they were treated for are being shared at this time, McMaster said.

McMaster said it’s hard to tell what may have caused the water main break.

“Usually it’s either from temperature influx, or it could be an older water main,” McMaster explained. “And there’s a lot of wear and tear on the water system when a fire engine hooks up to it because you’re using so much water.”

The Red Cross was at the scene Wednesday morning to assist the residents at 502 S. 11th Str., as McMaster said the house is uninhabitable. The house next door received exterior damage only, melting the siding and breaking a window.

He said the cause for the fire is unknown at this time, as crews continue to investigate.

Crews from Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston, Shabbona, and Cortland fire departments all assisted, he said. DeKalb police were also on the scene.