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Poor housekeeping plays role in apartment fire

No one injured, but blaze caused about $500,000 damage

Published: Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 8:34 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 8:36 a.m. CDT
(Photos courtesy of Todd Sherman)
Fire crews use multiple hose lines to direct water through first-floor windows in an effort to extinguish a fire that broke out in the apartment building at 510 Twilight Dr., Morris, shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday night.

The Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District fought an apartment fire Sunday night that was so extreme the chief said it was fortunate there were no fatalities.

At about 8:50 p.m., Morris fire was called by Morris police to 510 Twilight Drive to a fire in an apartment building. Police were evacuating the building, which was empty when the first fire engine arrived on scene, Fire Chief Tracey Steffes said Monday morning.

"I'm absolutely very surprised with the amount of fire and the type of conditions," Steffes said. "We're very lucky we did not have a fatality with the extreme fire conditions there last night."

When firefighters arrived, there were extreme fire conditions on the first and second floor. The fire began in an apartment with "very, very, very poor housekeeping that allowed for paper on top of a stove and then they used the stove," Steffes said. The tenant tried to extinguish the fire themselves, but couldn't.

About 15 people were displaced because of the fire that resulted in about $500,000 worth of damage.

"When you have an apartment complex, you have a lot of people in there," Steffes said.

A box alarm was alerted for the fire, which brought out Plainfied, Braidwood, Seneca, Lisbon, Channahon, Minooka, Troy, Coal City, Wilmington, Newark and Marseilles fire departments. The Grundy County EMA communications van was also called in. Morris police and MABAS 15 are investigating.

Since Wednesday, this is the third extreme fire Morris fire department has had to deal with. A house fire in an attic occurred Wednesday, a fire broke out Saturday morning at Quality Millwork and then there was Sunday's apartment fire.

No one was injured in any of the fires.

"All three were very different in their own way," Steffes said. "I couldn't be more proud of my people dealing with extreme fire conditions the last four to five days. All of our training paid off."

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