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updated: 5/19/2013 5:19 PM

Fire damages reconstructed fort at Naper Settlement museum

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  • The Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville was damaged by fire early Sunday morning. The fort was closed Sunday, but other portions of the Naper Settlement remained open.

       The Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville was damaged by fire early Sunday morning. The fort was closed Sunday, but other portions of the Naper Settlement remained open.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • An overnight fire Sunday damaged one of the towers of Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville. Authorities were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire.

       An overnight fire Sunday damaged one of the towers of Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville. Authorities were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • An overnight fire Sunday damaged one of the towers of Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville. Authorities were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire.

       An overnight fire Sunday damaged one of the towers of Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville. Authorities were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • An overnight fire Sunday damaged one of the towers of Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville. Authorities were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire.

       An overnight fire Sunday damaged one of the towers of Fort Payne building at the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville. Authorities were working Sunday to determine the cause of the fire.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

An early morning fire Sunday damaged the Fort Payne building, part of the Naper Settlement living-history museum in Naperville, authorities said.

Firefighters were called to the Naper Settlement on the 500 block of South Webster Street shortly after 12:30 a.m. Sunday and had the fire under control by about 12:45 a.m., according to officials from the museum. No injuries were reported.

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Capt. David Ferreri of the Naperville Fire Department said one of the fort's elevated watchtowerlike structures was damaged. He said it was difficult to estimate the cost of the damage because of the unique nature of the building.

Fort Payne is a reconstructed version of a fort originally constructed back in 1832 on what is now the North Central College campus in Naperville. The fort was named after Capt. Morgan Payne, who traveled from Danville to Naperville to help during the Black Hawk War, a conflict between the U.S. and a group of American Indians. The fort was dismantled and meticulously rebuilt on the Naper Settlement campus in 1979.

Debbie Grinnell, the Naper Settlement's vice president of museum services, said the building will be closed while a full damage assessment is made. Other buildings on the site remain open, and programs are running as planned.

Michale Krol, president and CEO of the Naper Settlement, praised firefighters for their quick work in extinguishing the fire Sunday.

"We work closely with the fire department on safety measures and to make sure they have access to the site when something like this happens," Krol said. "I'm sure we'll meet with them again now to see if we can enhance those efforts further."

An official cause for the fire has not yet been determined, but Ferreri said investigators are looking into reports that some kind of "pyrotechnic device" was activated near the settlement.

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