Fire departments from all across the Illinois Valley responded Monday afternoon to a house fire on Dee Bennett Road less than a mile west of the Starved Rock Marina.
Utica Fire Chief Ben Brown said the Utica Fire Department received a call from a passerby at 1:06 p.m. reporting “a well-involved structure fire” at 1061 N. 27th Road (Dee Bennett Road) and arrived to see heavy smoke coming out of the rear portion of the house.
Brown said the fire was under control by 1:43 p.m., but the excessive heat required that a second alarm be put out at 1:49 p.m. to ensure the safety of the firefighters. The fire was deemed extinguished by 2:31 p.m. and left the home uninhabitable.
“The guys made an aggressive interior tack from the rear,” Brown said. “They checked the house, didn’t find anyone in it. Once they knocked the fire down, they were able to open it up and contain most of the fire. Most of the heavy fire damage is to the back of the house, the back two rooms, and there is some smoke damage to the rest of the house.
“It’s an older structure, and the heat required us to put out extra alarms because the heat take all the energy out of these guys.”
No people or pets were at home at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Traffic on Dee Bennett Road was blocked off at the Starved Rock Yacht Club to the east and the Utica Police Department at Route 178 to the west.
Brown said 12 to 14 departments responded to the call.