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No injuries in St. Charles apartment fire

Fire started on a fourth floor balcony

ST. CHARLES – No one was injured during a balcony fire at a St. Charles apartment complex Feb. 7, fire officials said.

There were no injures due to the fire, St. Charles Fire Department Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet said, but one resident slipped on the ice once outside. No one was transported to the hospital, he said.

The call came at about 1 p.m. at the Surrey Hill Apartments, 201 N. Tyler Road, St. Charles, resulting in an evacuation of the building to the lobby while fire crews worked to extinguish the fire which apparently started on a fourth floor balcony, Schelstreet said.

“We maintained a lobby control. Firefighters were in the lobby communicating with the residents,” Schelstreet said.

The apartments have balconies located next to each other and the fire extended to both of the sides. Schelstreet said investigators were still trying to determine the balcony where the fire started – as well as how it started.

Neither occupant of the affected apartments was home, Schelstreet said.

Both apartments had some smoke damage, but the bulk of the fire and damage was to the balconies and the roof overhang, he said.

“Right now, we’re waiting. One of the occupants is on the way back here so the investigators have a number of questions,” Schelstreet said. “There is evidence that someone had a cat. However, we can’t confirm that. We don’t know where the cat is. There appears to be a litter box, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s their cat.”

The 15-degree-Fahrenheit winter weather created some difficulties for firefighters, Schelstreet said.

“It creates some challenges,” he said. “We have our rehab station set up so firefighters can re-hydrate, we have two ambulances here as a precautionary statement.”

Schelstreet stated later in a news release that the damages were estimated at $10,000 and that an investigation into the fire's cause was still ongoing.

The St. Charles Fire Department was assisted by the Geneva, Batavia, Elburn and West Chicago fire departments at the scene, the release also stated.

Joel and Shivani Degner, along with their child and Shivani Degner's parents, were huddled in a car in the parking lot while firefighters put the fire out.

The Degners, who are third floor residents of that apartment building, were home eating lunch from nearby Arby’s when the fire alarm went off, Joel Degner said.

The apartment building had done fire alarm tests a week ago, and the maintenance supervisor had gone down the hallways to make sure people were leaving, Joel Degner said.

“A guy came up and said, ‘This is real,’”Joel Degner said.

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