A total of eight fire departments responded to a box-alarm fire earlier this week in a rec-center building attached to St. Charles East High School.
Occupants evacuated the building safely, but due to the extensive impact of smoke throughout the building, fire loss is estimated at $250,000 to the structure and contents, St. Charles fire officials said.
According to a St. Charles Fire Department news release, firefighters were dispatched at around 8:16 a.m. Monday (Aug. 21, 2017) to an automatic fire alarm at 1020 Dunham Road, the St. Charles East High School.
Firefighters were on the scene by 8:22 a.m. and were met by representatives from School District 303, who indicated that there was smoke in the lobby of the Norris Recreation Center, 1040 Dunham Road, which is attached to the East High School.
Firefighters investigated and found a working fire in the men’s locker room in the basement of the Recreation Center. The alarm was upgraded to a first-level mutual box alarm, and eight fire departments responded either to the scene or filled in at St. Charles fire stations.
Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in about 30 minutes but remained on the scene to complete the overhaul and ensure public safety.
One firefighter was transported to Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, where he was treated and released due to a minor injury.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time.
The structure fire is the fifth Tri-Cities structure fire since July 29.
On July 29, St. Charles firefighters battled a garage fire at 409 McKinley St. in which the body of Frank Nezrick, Jr., 80, was found. Nezrick was the resident of the home. Fire loss in the McKinley Street fire was estimated at $100,000.
On July 31, the St. Charles Fire Department and 18 others joined forces to fight a box-alarm garage fire at 314 Indiana St. The Indiana Street fire spread to three vehicles, two houses, a neighbor’s garage, causing about $385,000 to the structures, vehicles and contents, according to a St. Charles Fire Department news release.
On Aug. 10, a detached garage was severely damaged by fire at 1022 Geneva Drive on Geneva’s east side. No one was injured from the fire.
On Aug. 14, a large storage barn was severely damaged by a fire at 37W260 Kaneville Road in unincorporated Geneva Township near Geneva’s west side.
According to the John B. Norris Recreation Center website, the center is closed until further notice due to the substantial fire/water/smoke damage to the entire facility.
Community Unit School District 303, which owns the facility, and the St. Charles Park District, which manages the center, are working to get the building opened once occupancy is approved by the fire marshall.
“It is hoped that the facility will open in phases,” the website says. “Check back for updates.”
Details will also be shared via Norris’ Facebook page.
For anyone who may have left personal belongings in the facility, officials ask that you email Ande Masoncup to make arrangements to pick up your items.
The center had been undergoing renovation throughout the summer.
“We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience during this renovation process,” the website says.
SOURCE: St. Charles Fire Department news release, John B. Norris Recreation Center website