SYCAMORE - A Sycamore family is without a home after a blaze late Sunday night on Old State Road gutted the two-story building, which was deemed uninhabitable.
It’s the second of its kind around the Sycamore area over the weekend, after a family in Clare also lost their home Saturday night due to a fire which caused about $100,000 worth of damages. That fire was exacerbated, fire officials said, due to the drought-like weather and heat conditions in the area over the weekend, along with lack of access to fire hydrants in the rural unincorporated community.
Sycamore Fire Chief Pete Polarek said when it comes to recent dry conditions in the county due to drought, “it was not a factor” in the apparent causes of either fires.
“There was no grass fire or anything like that that caused the fire,” Polarek said. “In both cases, the fire remains under investigation but nothing beyond that.”
No injuries to inhabitants or firefighters were reported in the Saturday or Sunday fire, according to a news release from the Sycamore Fire Department.
Sycamore firefighters were called to the 10000 block of Old State Road around 11:30 p.m. Sunday for reports of a structure fire. When they arrived, crews could see heavy fire coming from a rear first floor window of the two-story home, and the flames were winding up the second floor and roof.
Crews searched the property for occupants to evacuate, but didn’t find any additional people inside, the release states.
Firefighters began to fight the blaze from the outside with a hand line hose, and then crews moved inside. When they entered the home, firefighters discovered the blaze had also spread from the first floor to the second floor and attic space, and called in additional crews to help.
When the fire was under control, crews overhauled the building to check for hot spots and assess damage, which is estimated at $300,000 for the home, deemed uninhabitable, and $75,000 for the contents inside.
The structure of the building is heavily damaged, with the first floor incurring significant damage from heat, smoke and water, and the second floor and attic space damaged from heat and smoke.
All residents were relocated, and the fire remains under investigation, according to the release.
Polarek said Illinois state fire marshal officials were not called to either the Clare or Sycamore fires. He said neither fire appears to be suspicious and look to be accidental.
Sycamore fire crews initiated a General Alarm level for the blaze, and assistance was received from several neighboring fire departments including DeKalb, Elburn, Batavia, Hampshire, Cortland, Genoa-Kingston, Maple Park, Creston, Kirkland, Flag Center, Marengo, Waterman, Malta and Burlington.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross, and ComEd also assisted at the scene.
Polarek said fire issues usually arise when people are burning a pile of brush during drought conditions or in the fall after harvest with dry fuel, corn stubble and grasses on the ground, for example. He said those fires tend to spark and the wind carries the spark to a structure which happens more often on windy days.
Polarek urged residents to continue taking precautions to prevent these fires, like having non-flammable material around burn pits or areas that would prevent surrounding dry grass from igniting.
“Don’t burn when there’s a breeze,” Polarek said. “Burn when it’s allowed and burn when conditions are favorable and take the necessary precautions.”