By Kathryn Menue


BELVIDERE – Sunday, May 15 into the morning of Monday, May 16 proved to be a busy shift for the local fire departments as they responded to two fires.

The first call for a structural fire came in at 9:28 p.m. The Belvidere Fire Department responded within four minutes to the 1800 Block of 8th Ave. in Belvidere.

The Belvidere Fire Department did have a hard time finding the origin of the fire.

“The whole block was filled with smoke, and at first, it was hard to tell which structure was on fire,” Belvidere Fire Chief Al Hyser said.

Due to the large amount of smoke and flames, the Belvidere Fire Department received mutual aid from Boone County Fire Districts I, II, and III, Harvard Fire Department, Marengo Fire Department, South Beloit Fire Department, Rockford Fire Department, Genoa-Kingston Fire and Ambulance, Boone County EMA, Lifeline Ambulance, the Belvidere Police Department, and the Red Cross.

The fire departments located the fire’s origin in the basement of a home, located at 1804 8th Ave.

Fire crews entered the structure, but soon pulled out due to dangerous conditions. The responding firefighters then changed tactics to more of a defensive approach of fighting off the flames from the outside instead of focusing on the offensive search and rescue.

Every person made it out of the structure along with two dogs. Two dogs are believed to have perished in the fire.

After nearly two hours, firefighters had the structural fire under control.  No firefighters were injured.

The structure is condemned and three people are displaced.

It is undetermined at the time on how the fire started.

After returning from the 8th Avenue call, the Belvidere Fire Department received a call at 1:48 a.m. to respond to another fire in Belvidere.

“No sooner did we get back then we received another call for a structure fire,” Chief Hyser said.

The fire occurred at a duplex located at 402 W. Lincoln Ave. in Belvidere.

The Belvidere Fire Department arrived on scene at 1:53 a.m. after the police department radioed in “heavy smoke and fire conditions and that all occupants had escaped.”

Other area responders included Boone County District II Fire, Marengo Fire Department, Boone County EMA, and Lifeline Ambulance.

The fire was under control by 2:32 a.m. with no injuries of any firefighters or occupants. After looking for hot spots and investigating the area, the last of the responders left the scene at 4:15 a.m.

The probable cause of the fire was an electrical fire starting in one of the children’s bedrooms. The child alerted her parents to the fire and the two adults and four young children were able to escape in time.

The fire is estimated to have caused $40,000 in damage to property and content. There was virtually no damage to the adjoining structure.

Eight people were displaced from the fire consisting of the six people from the apartment of origin and two people from the adjoining structure.

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