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NewsTribune photo/Craig Sterrett As firefighters battled an interior blaze by entering through two porches and chopping a hole in the roof, a firefighter removes a small, un-damaged propane tank from the front porch of a house at 504 Fifth St. on the southeast side of Mendota.
MENDOTA — Fire gutted a one-story home at 504 Fifth St. on the southeast side of Mendota, displacing the owner who lives there on his own.
Jose M. Escatel said he was fixing something to eat when he looked out a window and noticed smoke. When he could tell it was coming from the basement, he tried to go downstairs but he realized, “No can do.”
He said he tried to find his phone to call for help. He said when couldn’t find the phone through the smoke, he grabbed his wallet and keys and drove to the police station to report the fire. He indicated that his neighbor probably called 911 in the meantime.
Mendota fire chief Dennis Rutishauser said the call came in at 6:51 p.m., and he pulled a “box alarm” due to the size of the fire. In addition to Troy Grove, that also brought a Peru fire engine to the scene, a La Salle engine for the Mendota station and a Utica rescue truck for the station. He said the fire indeed originated in the basement, and firefighters knocked out windows and doused some of the fire from the exterior.
Some firefighters wearing air packs entered a back porch, and some entered a front porch, removing a lawn mower and a couple of small propane tanks from that porch. Firefighters encountered some locked doors and extremely thick roofing that they had to break through to get to the fire.
Peru firefighters helped with physical “overhaul” work in the house, as Mendota and Troy Grove firefighters were resting and rehabilitating after their labor fighting the fire.
The fire report lists the cause as undetermined and damage at $25,000, he said. Fire damaged the entire basement and much of the kitchen, and there is smoke damage throughout.
The NewsTribune Mendota bureau can be reached at (815) 539-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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