Rural Villa Grove home destroyed by fire

VILLA GROVE — Fire destroyed an unoccupied single-family home southwest of Villa Grove early Wednesday.

Assistant Villa Grove Fire Chief Ross Elston said a Villa Grove police officer on patrol could see the flames from town about 4:15 a.m. and called for firefighters.

Elston said the officer went to the house at 1301 County Road 1350 E and found it fully involved in flames. The officer relayed reports to Elston, who said he was able to call for help from other departments before he even left his house.

“By the time we got out here, it was mostly to the ground,” Elston said.

Elston said the property is owned by Austin Apgar, a Douglas County farmer. It was under renovation, but there had been no work done on the house for several months, Elston said.

“It had power and gas, but nobody was living there. It had been shut down for the winter,” he said, adding that someone checks the property daily. That person had been there Tuesday and found nothing wrong.

Elston said he did not know the value of the home. He remained at the fire scene for several hours after the fire was out, waiting to hear from the state fire marshal’s office to see if a representative would come to investigate. Because of the amount of damage, Elston said, it would be difficult to determine a cause or origin for the fire.

About 25 firefighters from Villa Grove, Tuscola, Hindsboro, Pesotum, Camargo and Broadlands-Longview got the fire under control, Elston said. There were no injuries.

“We’re just cold. There’s a lot of ice from the water,” he said.

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