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Home on Leonard Avenue in DeKalb deemed $200,000 total loss after fire Saturday morning

DeKALB – A family lost their home after a structure fire early Saturday morning, which began in the basement of a one-story home in the 700 block of Leonard Avenue and quickly engulfed the building in flame.

“That’s not what we wanted to wake up to on a Saturday morning,” said neighbor Zach Fullmer as fire crews remained on the scene more than four hours later stamping out hot spots in the building.

The $200,000 total loss is still under investigation as to the cause of the fire, according to a news release from the DeKalb Fire Department. Though all occupants of the home were able to escape, two required treatment from paramedics on the scene, and one was taken by Cortland paramedics to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff McMaster said when firefighters arrived around 7 a.m. to the one-story ranch-style home in the 700 block of Leonard Avenue, the entire house was already filled with smoke. The people inside the home had already evacuated themselves before fire crews arrived.

“They entered the basement and encountered high heat which indicated a significant fire,” McMaster said. “The fire continued to grow and kept getting hotter no matter how much water they kept putting on it, and they had to back out of the basement.”

The fire grew so quickly that firefighters were forced to exit the home for fear the building might collapse.

McMaster said fire crews from DeKalb, Cortland, Genoa-Kingston, Malta, Maple park, Shabbona and Sycamore set up defensive measures to attempt to contain the fire from the outside, as flames spread through the home quickly, through the walls, floor and roof.

No neighboring homes suffered any secondary damage, and the fire was contained within an hour and a half.

Fullmer said the fire department did a good job, and had it under control pretty quickly.

“The flames came out the front door but by the time the flames came out, they had it pretty well watered down,” Fullmer said.

DeKalb fire crews were still on the scene more than four hours after it started to combat hot spots, though the structure is too unsafe to enter.

“We’ll be on fire watch here for a little but just to make sure we don’t have a rekindle,” said Bill Lynch, DeKalb fire prevention officer.

The family will receive aid from the American Red Cross, McMaster said, though the total loss of the home means its unclear when or if they will be able to re-enter to retrieve any personal items that may have survived the flames.

Shaw Media’s Eric Olson contributed to this report.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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