Fire damages ranch home in Rochelle

No injuries reported, $50,000 in damage estimated


ROCHELLE - The Rochelle Fire Department and Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District were called to a fire Thursday evening that caused an estimated $50,000 in damage. No injuries were reported at the scene, and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The fire occurred at a two-bedroom, ranch-style home located at 1213 1st Ave. in Rochelle. The Rochelle Fire Department arrived on the scene around 6:30 p.m. before calling for additional help from the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District. Firefighters were on the scene for roughly four hours on Thursday before returning Friday morning to put out smoldering insulation.

“We received a call of a structure fire between the house and the garage,” Fire Chief Dave Sawlsville said. “There’s a small breezeway between the house and the garage, and the fire was burning the outside of both the house and the garage. The owner was home at the time, but was unaware of the fire until a neighbor came over and said that the house was on fire.”

Two structures were on fire when firefighters arrived, leading the Rochelle Fire Department to call for three additional fire engines from the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District. Fires ran up to the attic of both the garage and the house, forcing firefighters to cut holes into the roofing of both structures for ventilation. Firefighters returned around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning to address remaining hot spots caused by the blown-in insulation in the attic of the house.

“The house isn’t livable at this time,” Sawlsville said. “The homeowners are being taken care off by the Red Cross. I don’t know exactly how the fire started at this time. We’re narrowing down some possibilities. It looks like the fire started on the outside, which eliminates some possibilities. We need to talk with the owners a few more times.”