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Local

Cause of July fire remains a mystery

No evidence of arson found, official says

STERLING – The cause remains unknown for a fire that destroyed a house on First Avenue in July, but the case is still open, an official said Monday.

The state fire marshal’s office has found no indication that the fire was caused by arson, said Milly Santiago, the office’s spokeswoman.

Officials suspected the fire at the two-story duplex at 1012 First Ave. started on the exterior of the southeast side of the building, which sustained the most damage.

The Sterling and Rock Falls fire departments responded about 6 p.m. July 31, and it took a little more than an hour to contain the fire. No one was hurt.

Two families lived in the home.

Rachael Rico, 26, was on the bottom floor at the time. Her 7-year-old son, Alex Rico, had gone outside and came back in to tell his mother the house was on fire. Rachael, who was with her 2-month-old daughter, Aliyah Miniel, rushed out with her family.

Ashley Segura lived upstairs with her 4-year-old, Gabriel Segura. Ashley Segura was walking in the neighborhood at the time. Her son was at his grandmother’s house.

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