By Bob Uphues
A fire that appears to have ignited in the basement of a Riverside home on the afternoon of May 1 did serious smoke and heat damage to the residence on the lower level and first floor, said Fire Chief Matthew Buckley.
Three people were inside the two-story, stucco Spanish-revival style home at 322 Shenstone Road, and all were able to exit the home uninjured. Buckley said firefighters rescued a cat from the house.
One of the residents called 911 at about 1:40 p.m., reporting smoke inside the house. When Buckley arrived on the scene, he said he saw heavy smoke pouring from a side door and the kitchen window on west side of the structure.
Firefighters brought a hose through that door and down into the basement to extinguish the flames there.
"We believe it started in the basement at this time," said Buckley, who added that the investigation into the cause was just beginning. "The basement and first floor sustained heat and smoke damage throughout."
As of about 2:30 p.m., workers from both ComEd and Nicor were on the scene to turn off electric and natural gas service to the house, which likely is not habitable at this time. The village's building department had not yet assessed the damage to the home.
Riverside firefighters were assisted by engines from McCook, Forest View and Lyons, in addition to Brookfield Fire Chief James Adams, said Buckley.
The incident was Riverside's second house fire in two weeks. On April 15, a fire seriously damaged the rear portion of the home at 281 E. Quincy St. Four dogs perished in that fire, but all four family members escaped unharmed.
The cause of that fire still has not been determined, Buckley said.