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Chief: Lit cigarette sparked house fire

Homeowners escaped blaze uninjured

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 1:15 a.m. CST

ROCHELLE – It appears a fire that destroyed a one-story home around 5 a.m. Sunday was caused by a cigarette, the Rochelle fire chief said Monday.

When firefighters and Ogle County sheriff’s deputies arrived at 11281 E. Oak Court, the east and south sides of the home were engulfed in flames. It took about 25 minutes to put out the fire, which left only a “shell of a house” and caused about $150,000 in damage, Chief Brian Johnson said.

Homeowners Robert and Sharon Thompson, 70 and 71, got out before firefighters arrived. It appears Robert Thompson was smoking in a bedroom when he fell asleep and his cigarette fell on a foot stool, Johnson said.

The Thompsons have family in the area that they can stay with, and are being helped by the Red Cross, he added.

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