Fire marshal says careless smoking caused Rizzo’s blaze

A fire Sunday  caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the roof, interior and deck of Rizzo's in downtown Naperville. |  Linda Girardi/For Sun-Times Media
A fire Sunday caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the roof, interior and deck of Rizzo's in downtown Naperville. | Linda Girardi/For Sun-Times Media

Improper disposal of a cigarette or other smoking material sparked the fire last week that did significant damage to Rizzo’s restaurant and bar in downtown Naperville.

And an electrical malfunction in an air compressor ignited a blaze later that same day that damaged the garage of a house near the city’s far northwest side, Naperville Fire Department Fire Marshal Scott Scheller confirmed Tuesday.

The blaze at Rizzo’s, 6 W. Jefferson Ave., broke out around 6:15 a.m. July 6 and did an estimated $200,000 in damage to the building’s roof, deck and interior.

Another fire erupted about 7:40 p.m. inside the detached garage of a home at 30W110 Bruce Lane. That is in the unincorporated Scots Plains area of DuPage County just west of Naperville’s Brookdale neighborhood.

Scheller said fire investigators discovered unextinguished smoking material had been placed inside a railing plant holder located in Rizzo’s balcony area. The plant holder, at some point, “fell over onto some rubber mats, and that contributed” to flames spreading to the side of the building and onto the roof, he said.

Investigators have formally attributed the cause of the fire to “improperly disposed-of smoking materials on the balcony area,” Scheller said.

He added Rizzo’s private insurance investigator has concurred with the fire department’s findings.

The cause of the Bruce Lane blaze, meanwhile, proved to be an electrical malfunction in an air compressor inside the garage, Scheller said. That might have involved a loose electrical connection, a pinched wire or similar trouble, he said.

Rizzo’s, shortly before the fire there, had undergone significant renovation and remodeling of its upstairs area. That had been designed, in part, to alleviate crowded conditions on the bar’s busier nights.

The first firefighters to arrive on the scene found flames shooting out of the roof and rear of the building, and a large cloud of smoke wafting into the sky. The blaze was extinguished in about a half-hour, with fire damage primarily confined to the second-floor bar area.

A fire official last week said the blaze on Bruce Lane took about 10 minutes to extinguish and did an estimated $80,000 damage to the garage.

Yet another fire broke out about 5:50 p.m. that day on the balcony of a townhouse at 2504 Durango Lane, in the Glenmuir area of the city’s far southwest side. Fire officials said that blaze, caused by a charcoal barbecue grill, did about $60,000 in damage to the home.

No one was injured in any of the fires.

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