UPDATED 6:30 A.M.
SIDNEY – Nobody was reported hurt in a late-night fire Wednesday that destroyed an abandoned farmhouse in rural Sidney.
Champaign County sheriff's Sgt. Will Davis said deputies and fire officials will be investigating the fire as suspicious since the house was vacant and had no utilities on.
Firefighters were called to 1944 County Road 900 N at 10:30 p.m. after a passer-by saw the vacant two-story house on fire.
When they arrived, they found the house fully engulfed by flames, according to Sidney Fire Department First Officer Troy Roberts.
“The whole thing was on fire, and a couple trees to the north were on fire when we got here,” Roberts said.
Since there were no fire hydrants in the area, firefighters emptied water from their trucks into portable tanks, and the water was then pumped onto the burning house.
Sidney firefighters were helped by firefighters from Homer, Broadlands, Longview, Philo, St. Joseph-Stanton,Tolono, Allerton, Bondville, Sadorus and Ivesdale.
Firefighters had the fire under control by 10:45 p.m. but were unable to save it. They remained on the scene after midnight.
“It seemed like it took forever to get the fire under control,” Roberts said.
Roberts said no one was injured.
Firefighters were called back for a rekindling of the fire in the remains about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Davis said.
Davis said the home is owned by Michael P. O'Neill of Sidney, but deputies were unable to reach him to find out what the house is worth. Davis estimated the house has been vacant at least 10 years.
Roberts said firefighters don’t know how the fire started or where in the house it started.
“The house was a total loss,” Roberts said. “I don’t know what the value was.”