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Local

Apartment fire in Sycamore displaces 12 residents

A fire started late Sunday night inside the apartment building at 1110 S. Cross St., and the belief, Sycamore Fire Deputy Chief Art Zern said, is a vehicle struck a transformer not far from the apartment building.
A fire started late Sunday night inside the apartment building at 1110 S. Cross St., and the belief, Sycamore Fire Deputy Chief Art Zern said, is a vehicle struck a transformer not far from the apartment building.

SYCAMORE – An apartment fire in Sycamore wasn't what it seemed to be after it turned out to be multiple smaller fires throughout the two-and-a-half story building.

On Sunday, Sycamore Fire Department received a call a little after 10 p.m. for a possible kitchen oven fire, but when crews arrived there was no fire in the stove. Instead, they saw a burnt electrical cord, a Sycamore Fire Department's news release states.

There were no injuries to residents or firefighters, the release states and 12 residents were displaced from six units in the building at 1100 block of South Cross Street.

Brad Rubeck, who owns the building, said all of the tenants have managed to find places to live and he's issued them their security deposits in full and returned to them any pre-paid rent money for the portion in February they won't be living at the apartment.

"[It's] so they have funds immediately to relocate," Rubeck said.

He said he's dispersed between $10,000 and 12,000 to the tenants.

The American Red Cross helped relocate the residents inside the apartment building, said Art Zern, Sycamore Fire Department deputy chief.

"[It'll be] at least a couple weeks before the insurance companies identify the damages and the dollar amounts," Rubeck said. They'll require meetings with the city building department to determine the steps necessary to get [the building] back up. It was a lot of damage done."

The fire department and Commonwealth Edison believe someone ran into a transformer outside of the building, Zern said.

"It caused the building to be electrified in an incorrect way from what we believe was an accident," Zern said. "Small fires started in various units, from the first floor to the attic."

He said Sycamore firefighters turned off the power, but when they pulled the meters, there was still power.

Zern said the initial fires were under control by about 3:15 a.m.

"We had to spend most of that time chasing them down," he said. "They weren't all obvious right away."

Rubeck was grateful to the attention of one apartment resident that night who saw the smoke before the smoke alarms went off.

"One of the [residents] who identified the smoke did a great job to notify the others early on of the situation," Rubeck said.

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