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Man, two dogs dead after Sunday garage fire on 6th Street in DeKalb

DeKALB - One man and two dogs died following a fire inside a garage on Sixth Street just after midnight Sunday, according to officials from the DeKalb Fire Department.

The identity of the man is not yet known. Fire crews believe he was living inside of the four-door garage with several dogs, said Deputy Fire Chief Bart Gilmore. He said it’s not clear yet whether the man also owned the garage, which at the time of the fire housed a semi tractor and several vehicles.

The fire was called in by a passerby, Gilmore said.

Emergency crews were called to 1004 S. Sixth St. in DeKalb for reports of a fire around 12:22 a.m. Sunday. When first responders arrived, they saw heavy smoke showing from the roof of the residence, according to the release.

Police had informed crews that a person might be inside the house, the report states.

Firefighters reportedly had to forcibly enter the property, which officials said delayed an initial attempt to put out the fire, the release states.

“It was a mechanic garage with four doors to it,” Gilmore said. “The owner, we believe, is the one that may be the victim. It was probably at one point a commercial [garage]. All four garage doors were cut open with saws. There’s a man door in the middle of the building that was forced, and they breached a bricked up window in the rear of the building.”

Crews found one man inside the home, and transported him to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital’s emergency department, where he was pronounced dead.

“They attempted to resuscitate him,” Gilmore said.

Two dog were also found and pronounced dead, Gilmore said. One firefighter was also treated at Kishwaukee’s emergency department for minor injuries and released.

The fire caused about $500,000 worth of damage, according to a news release, and also left a firefighter with minor injuries. Gilmore said the firefighter suffered an injury to his face.

According to fire officials, the fire was brought under control about one hour and 25 minutes from the time crews arrived on the scene, though officials remained at the residence for five hours after.

The cause of the fire hasn’t yet been determined and remains under investigation by the DeKalb Fire Department and the State Fire Marshall’s Office. The structure has been deemed unsafe to enter due to the condition of the building post-fire.

Crews from Burlington. Cortland, Fox River, Malta, Maple Park, Sugar Grove, Shabbona and Sycamore fire departments assisted, as did DeKalb police, the City of DeKalb’s Public Works Department and ComEd.

This is a developing story which could be updated as more information becomes available.