By Bob Uphues
A family of three has been displaced after a fire at 555 Byrd Road in Riverside on Sept. 5 caused extensive heat, smoke and water damage to the two-story brick residence.
Nobody was injured in the blaze, said Fire Chief Matthew Buckley, who arrived on the scene shortly after the homeowner called 911 at about 2:05 p.m. and reported seeing the north outdoor patio area engulfed in flames and smoke.
"We still don't have an exact cause, but the fire started in the rear patio," said Buckley, who described the area as a concrete and tile slab covered by a wooden roof. There is an outdoor fireplace in that location, but it wasn't being used at the time the fire started, he said. The patio area also has electrical service.
Buckley said he and the homeowners' insurance company will conduct a follow-up investigation to see if they can identify a cause of the fire.
Flames already had penetrated into an interior hallway and the kitchen when firefighters arrived. They used a deck hose from one truck to extinguish the patio area fire, while bringing a hose line in from the home's main entrance on Byrd Road to reach the flames inside.
Firefighters extinguished the flames within minutes, but the home sustained heat and smoke damage throughout, including the second-floor bedroom area, Buckley said.
In addition to the flames also scorching a large tree that overhangs the back yard near the patio, fire spread to the home at 500 Berkeley Road, immediately to the east. Fire was contained to the exterior rear door area and trim of that home and did not penetrate the building, Buckley said.
The fire rendered the home at 555 Byrd Road uninhabitable, said Buckley. The back hallway and kitchen areas sustained severe fire damage, he added.
Units from several other towns, including Lyons, Forest View, McCook, Brookfield, LaGrange Park and North Riverside assisted at the scene. Initial investigative work was done by the mutual-aid MABAS Division 10 fire investigation team.
According to Buckley, the homeowners and their child are staying with family in the area at this time.