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Update: kitchen fire in Fisk Ave duplex displaces almost a dozen DeKalb residents

DeKALB - A kitchen fire in a duplex in the 200 block of Fisk Avenue Wednesday night has left 11 people displaced and caused $100,000 worth of damage.

When firefighters arrived to the two-story duplex, moderate smoke was showing from the five-unit building and residents were already evacuating themselves. The fire appeared to have started in the kitchen on a ground-level unit.

"When the guys got there, there were people streaming out of the building," said Fire Chief Jeff McMaster. "DeKalb police did assist a couple people as well as they were coming out of the building."

According to a news release from the DeKalb Fire Department, crews responded to reports of a structure fire around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday night, which took an hour to get under control, and another four and a half to clear the scene.

When firefighters tried to enter the building, they encountered zero-visibility and high heat, McMaster said.

They searched the building for occupants but found none, as they'd all evacuated.

"They did find heavy fire inside the apartment, and smoke throughout the entire building," McMaster said. "But they were able to knock down the fire and went into salvage mode and ventilation to try to clear it out and look or hot spots. There's many void spaces in an older building like that."

As crews worked to get the blaze under control, they also ventilated the building for smoke and fought hot spots, and attempted to save personal belongings from the home.

The fire itself was contained to the one ground-level unit, however, the unit sustained severe damage and left the rest of the building uninhabitable due to secondary damage from smoke.

McMaster said there were no reported injuries to residents or firefighters, and the two people who lived in the affected unit had a cat which also survived.

The American Red Cross will assist with finding the 11 residents shelter, and investigators from the DeKalb Fire Department continue to assess the cause of the fire.

"It is considered accidental," McMaster said. "Not suspicious at all."

Fire crews from the DeKalb Fire Department, along with crews from Malta, Sycamore, Cortland, Genoa-Kingston, Maple Park and Shabbona assisted.

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