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Firefighters battle apartment blaze on Ridge Drive

Matthew Apgar -
Firefighter/paramedics battle a fire at 808 Ridge Drive in apartment 209 on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 in DeKalb.
Matthew Apgar - Firefighter/paramedics battle a fire at 808 Ridge Drive in apartment 209 on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 in DeKalb.

DeKALB – No serious injuries were reported, but an apartment is now uninhabitable after a Friday morning fire in the apartment building at 808 Ridge Drive – the same site where a man suffered smoke inhalation and later died in October.

Reports heard in first responder radio traffic indicated at least one person was going to be taken to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. DeKalb Deputy Fire Chief Jeff McMaster, however, said that four people, two adults and two children, were checked out and treated for smoke inhalation on scene, but no one had been taken to the hospital.

McMaster added that the fire was contained to one apartment and the was under control in about an hour. Emergency services remained on scene for several hours afterward.

As of 4:30 p.m., the fire's cause was still under investigation by the DeKalb Fire Department, the DeKalb Police Department and the state fire marshal's office.

Two inhabitants were displaced from the unit, which is now uninhabitable, McMaster said.

Sycamore, Corland, Shabbona, and Genoa-Kingston first responders are assisting at the scene, where smoke was billowing from a third-floor apartment window about 10 a.m.

After the fire was put out, Carl Leoni, DeKalb Code Compliance Coordinator, said he received a call from a resident who claimed the building did not have any fire extinguishers. Leoni said he checked with a fire prevention officer on site, who told him there were extinguishers available, but the matter is still under investigation.

Although this complaint is still in question, the city’s Crime Free Housing department has investigated a number of violations at 808 Ridge Drive over the last couple years, including kitchen plumbing issues, mold issues, bed bug infestations and electrical problems. All of these cases have either been abated, brought into compliance or closed, according to city records.

Hunter Ridgebrook Properties, which owns the building, declined a request for comment.

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