Two fires keep crews on duty

By Dave Gomez

Scattered children’s toys, broken glass and roofing insulation littered the ground of what used to be DeKalb resident Nichole Lowry’s home.

A Friday afternoon fire at 138 Sherman Place caused $135,000 in damage. All four apartments had tenants living there, but only Kenneth Stevenson, Lowry’s boyfriend, was home when the fire broke out.

The fire originated in the second floor kitchen area of one apartment and quickly spread to a neighboring apartment.

Stevenson said the fire started when he left a pot of grease on the stove that he was going to clean and forgot the stove was on. When he came back, the fire was only in the kitchen portion of the apartment.

“The fire alarms never went off,” Stevenson said.

The fire burned part of Stevenson’s shirt and arm while he tried to put the fire out, but he said by the time he got back it had grown to be “just too much.”

“There’s not much you can do without a fire extinguisher,” Stevenson said.

“If there was, I could have put the damn fire out,” Stevenson said.

One person, whose name was not released by the fire department, was treated and released at the scene.

Sixty-three firefighters from 10 different area departments were on scene. It took firefighters about one hour and 15 minutes to get the fire under control.

Sycamore, Cortland, Malta, Burlington, Hinckley, Shabbona and Waterman contributed engines. Hampshire sent a truck, and Elburn sent ambulances.

“The building is uninhabitable at this time,” said Lt. Dave O’ Donnell of the DeKalb Fire Department. Condemned signs have been posted on the doors of all the apartments.

Christian Metoyer, another tenant in the building, said there were no fire extinguishers in any of the apartments.

The DeKalb Municipal Code requires that some apartment buildings have fire extinguishers. However, no one has confirmed or denied as of press time if the structure at Sherman Place falls into one of the categories requiring fire extinguishers.

Witnesses from across the street watching the fire said they had made phone calls to the department around 12:05 p.m., about 14 minutes before fire trucks showed up.