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updated: 8/21/2011 9:39 AM

Historic vacant home burns to ground in Mundelein

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A century-old house in Mundelein burned to the ground early Saturday. The two-story wood frame home at 20951 Rt. 83 had been vacant for several years and was slated to be torn down, said Mundelein Fire Department Lt. Mark Gaunky. The house once belonged to a member of the Behm family, a name that has long been a part of the area's history, Gaunky added.

A person driving in the area called in the blaze at about 2:30 a.m., but the fire already was shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived.

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"We let it burn," Gaunky said, explaining how firefighters focused their efforts for the next four-and-a-half hours on protecting the surrounding businesses. "There were a lot of embers flying."

Firefighters had to close roads around the blaze to hook their hoses to a water supply, and had to make sure there were no vagrants, squatters or vandals in the building when it burned.

While the fire wasn't started by lightning, Gaunky said officials would not be spending time and money to investigate the cause. All that is left of the home is the stone foundation.

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