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No cause yet of fire that left 5 homeless

At least one cat dead; house a total loss

POLO – The cause has not yet been determined for a fire Friday at 103 S. Jackson Ave. that left five people homeless.

No one was injured, but at least one cat was killed in the blaze that began about 4 p.m. and destroyed the home, Polo Fire Protection District Chief Tony Karrow said.

Eight fire departments responded, battling the fire in below-freezing temperatures, slipping and sliding on ice as 12-15 mph wind "fueled the fire and made it a little more difficult to contain and put out," Karrow said.

To make matters worse, there were seven medical oxygen tanks inside, two of which ruptured and intensified the fire, which took 4 hours to put down, he said.

The home had three apartments. A couple and their adolescent child occupied the upstairs apartment, while the man's mother lived in the downstairs rear apartment, where the fire originated, Karrow said.

A woman not related to them lived in the front downstairs apartment, he said. She had three cats. Two are missing and one died, he said.

Marty and Tracey Decrane of Polo own the house, worth $65,000; they have house insurance, but none of the renters had renter's insurance, he said.

A cause had not been determined by Sunday. The state fire marshal is investigating, Karrow said.

To help

POLO – Items for the residents burned out of their apartments are being accepted at Scholl Insurance, 112 N. Franklin Ave., which is open from 8: 30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, call Tammy Merdian, 815-632-1140.

Many coats have been received, Merdian said.

Needed are canned goods and household items such as silverware and towels, and clothes in the following sizes:

– Men's 6 XL tall shirts,

– Women's 3X elastic pants, shorts or capris and 2X and 3X shirts.

– Boy's 32 x 32 jeans, medium shirts.

– Girl's size 5 pants, medium shirts.

– Women's shoes, sizes 9, 8 1/2 and 11.

– Men's shoes sizes 12 and 14.

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