ELDRIDGE — The volunteers at the Eldridge Fire Department have had an unusually busy winter season, and they didn’t get a break this weekend tackling a house fire in below-freezing weather.

Eldridge Fire Chief Tyler Schmidt blamed Saturday night’s fire at 318 W. Davies St. on a woodburning stove, he said Monday.

A neighbor reported the fire at 11:32 p.m. and the two residents asleep inside were awakened by “crackling” and “popping” sounds, Schmidt said.

They made it outside uninjured, and firefighters arrived to find the home engulfed as flames shot up as high as 30 feet in the air, Schmidt said.

The fire caused $75,000 in damage to the single-story home that is owned by John T. Green Sr. and another $25,000 to the contents. Schmidt said the stove was located in the back of the house. Although he was told the chimney had been recently cleaned, he said firefighters found a buildup of creosote that may have contributed to the cause.

Schmidt reported a couple of slips and falls on the icy ground, but none of the firefighters were injured.

“Fighting fires in below-freezing weather is always a challenge,” he said. “Everything gets ice. The equipment freezes up.”

Saturday’s fire was the third in 16 days. Schmidt said Eldridge firefighters typically tackle two in a year.

Investigators Monday were still trying to determine what caused the Jan. 17 fire that destroyed Del's Eatery & Pub, 102 W. LeClaire Road, Eldridge. The corner building was constructed in 1885.

They’ve determined that an equipment malfunction caused a fire that broke out Jan. 25 inside a furnace at American Finishing Resources, 330 N. 16th Ave. That fire caused $250,000 in damage to the local paint removal business.

No one was injured in any of the fires.

“It’s all a coincidence, I guess,” Schmidt said of the three fires occurring over about two weeks.

Volunteer firefighters are equipped with pagers and receive alerts through the Scott Emergency Communication Center.

Schmidt also works on the Davenport Fire Department.

“It’s normally pretty quiet out here, fire-wise, and we like it that way,” he said.

(6) comments

Herky
Herky

The article mentioned the chimney was recently cleaned. It did not mention how. Those logs do work as general upkeep, but it should still be done professionally at least once a year. Knowing the resident here personally, I would not be surprised if had done both, but being the article doesn't mention anything, I won't make any assumptions and others shouldn't be either.

familytimeusa

Funny how the media always feels the need to include a value of the damage. They don't have a clue what it takes to re-build a home damaged by a fire. More importantly is how sad it is that these people lost their home that they've lived in for so many years.

Bobaloo

I'm sure that the media does know what it takes – the short answer, a lot – to rebuild. There's not always time to report on the efforts to rebuild, however. The sympathy should, however, go to the family.

And again, what about these Chimney Sweeping Logs that get advertised?

KT

Cleaning the chimney does not involve burning a chemically treated "log", it involves a brush and elbow grease.

Bobaloo

I don't have a chimney where I live nor a wood-burning stove or fireplace, so I wouldn't know. But I presume you're referring to those "logs" that you sometimes see advertised on television.

Can I assume that you suspect that these "chemically treated logs" – advertised as creating carbons and other volatiles that dissolve and consume the creosote buildup there may be – are nothing but a fraud (i.e., created by a company to make money and to get people out of a time-consuming task or having to pay a chimney sweep) and as useless as those deer horns (those things put on the front bumper panels of cars to drive away deer, so you can go speeding through the night in a wooded area where deer frequent)?

In any case, glad nobody is hurt and that the firefighters are once again our heroes.

lawndurt

That crafty woodburning stove lit itself and loaded its own wood. Clever.

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