No one hurt in house fire

Firefighters were busy Tuesday afternoon fighting a fire near Wagner and Books roads in Naperville.  |  Bill Bird~Sun-Times Media
Firefighters were busy Tuesday afternoon fighting a fire near Wagner and Books roads in Naperville. | Bill Bird~Sun-Times Media

Investigators late Tuesday were continuing to seek the source and cause of a fire that gutted a house in an unincorporated area of Will County near Naperville’s far south side.

Flames at one point shot through the roof and front window of the home at 28W727 Wagner Road, in the unincorporated Wheatland South area of the county adjacent to Naperville’s Ashbury Park.

Naperville Fire Department Capt. Tom Oker confirmed on the scene the fire apparently erupted about 2:38 p.m. Tuesday in the beige- and brown-colored, ranch-style house. It sits on the south side of Wagner Road at the end of a cul-de-sac, about a block east of Book Road.

No one was home at the time, and no firefighters or other emergency service workers were injured during the blaze, Oker said. Damage was estimated at more than $200,000.

“Someone who saw flames in the window” of the house was the first to call 911, Oker said. “The next report was of flames out through the roof,” he said.

A contingent of at least 24 firefighters was sent to the area, along with a total of 10 fire trucks, engines, ambulances and other vehicles and pieces of firefighting apparatus, Oker said. An aerial ladder was raised from one truck and above the roof of the house within minutes of the firefighters’ arrival.

Firefighters cut a large, triangular-shaped hole in the locked garage door to gain entry to the house. One of the front windows was also shattered, although it was not immediately known if it had been broken by firefighters or had burst because of the flames and heat.

The neighborhood is not served by fire hydrants. Oker said that made it necessary to call for several tender trucks to bring water to fight the blaze.

A hydrant that was quickly located on the west side of Book Road just north of Wagner Road then became the primary “positive water source,” Oker said.

Firefighters unrolled and linked together a total of 700 feet of hose, which they then stretched across Book and Wagner roads and used to douse the flames, he said.

Thick, acrid, yellow-brown smoke wafted from the house until about 3:25 p.m., when it appeared to dissipate.

Oker said the main body of the fire was extinguished about 3:15 p.m. Firefighters remained on the scene for some time afterward, performing routine salvage and cleanup operations, he said.

Bureau Chief Mark Thurow, in a subsequent release, said parts of the roof and main floor of the house collapsed during the blaze. He also said the house “had no permanent residents, but there had been reports of squatters living in the building recently.”

Police during the emergency closed Book Road to traffic from roughly Conan Doyle Road on the north to 103rd Street on the south.

It marked the second time in three days homeowners on that stretch of Wagner Road had seen emergency vehicles descend on the neighborhood.

A neighbor who declined to be identified said a young couple had moved into the house about a month ago. The man came outside late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and stood on the street, screaming his girlfriend’s name, the neighbor said.

A Will County sheriff’s officer came to the area, as did a fire engine and an ambulance, the neighbor said. Authorities remained there until about 6 a.m. Sunday, the neighbor said.

The neighbor did not know what caused the disturbance.

Oker said he knew nothing about the nature of that situation, but confirmed a fire truck and ambulance had been sent to the area.

Oker added the cause and source of the blaze are being sought.