Arson suspected in extra-alarm fire at abandoned Algonquin factory

  • Area fire crews work to overhaul a fire in the Toastmaster building just South West of the corner of Washington and Jefferson in Algonquin Tuesday.

      Area fire crews work to overhaul a fire in the Toastmaster building just South West of the corner of Washington and Jefferson in Algonquin Tuesday. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Area fire crews work to put out a fire in the Toastmaster building just South West of the corner of Washington and Jefferson in Algonquin Tuesday

      Area fire crews work to put out a fire in the Toastmaster building just South West of the corner of Washington and Jefferson in Algonquin Tuesday Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
and Lenore Adkins
Daily Herald Staff
 
Updated 3/31/2009 6:28 PM

Fire investigators believe arson played a role in a fire early Tuesday morning on the first floor of the abandoned Toastmaster building in Algonquin.

Firefighters were dispatched to the 400 block of Washington Street at 6:13 a.m. by eyewitnesses who saw smoke pouring from northeast corner of the first floor of the building.

 

Officials called in a second alarm to the fire at 7 a.m., officials said, but had it contained and extinguished at 7:30 a.m.

Battalion Chief John Greene of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District said the appliance factory building has been abandoned for years, and the blaze started on and was contained to a portion of the first floor.

"Any fire in that kind of building is automatically suspicious because it's abandoned," he said.

A 2006 fire in the same building was ruled an arson.

Fire Prevention Director Michael Murphy added "it appears" Tuesday's fire is an arson, given the building's utilities are no longer in service.

Moreover, the building, which is more than 100 years old, frequently attracts vandals, Murphy said.

No one was in the building when crews arrived on the scene, officials said. One firefighter was taken to a hospital with a minor injury that was not related to the fire, officials said.

Crews remained at the scene until about 9:30 a.m. cleaning up and ensuring the fire was snuffed out, they added.

Crews also responded from Crystal Lake, Barrington, East Dundee, West Dundee, Fox River Grove and Rutland Dundee.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Washington Street was closed down surrounding the area, but Route 31 remained open while firefighters battled the blaze.

It remains unclear what sparked the fire, officials said, and a damage estimate to the facility has not been released.

Authorities at nearby St. John's Lutheran School canceled classes for the day, acting on protocol officials set in place years ago in case the building ever caught fire, Principal Ralph Peterson said.

"We had hoped that this day never came, but prior planning prevents poor performance," Peterson said.

The school's 156 students and 18 staff members are due back in class Wednesday.

"We can't have no school on April Fool's Day," Peterson quipped. "I mean, I have to be told my shoe's untied at least 150 times."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.