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Explosion leads to 2 Ottawa homes catching fire

Cause unknown, remains under investigation

Two single-family homes were damaged by fire Friday night following an apparent explosion in the 1600 block of Chestnut Street in Ottawa. 

"I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and I heard the explosion and saw the flash," said Jonathan Six, who lives at 1603 Chestnut St.

Six said he saw the house next door at 1605 Chestnut St. was on fire, gave his phone to his girlfriend and told her to call 911 while he removed his dirt bikes from his house. He said the fire spread to his home through the power lines. An Ameren crew was at the scene.

Ottawa Fire Chief Andy Borkowski said it was still too early to determine the cause of the fire, but did say "it appears as though there was an explosion."

"At this point, we are waiting for the state fire marshal to come out of Chicago," Borkowski said. The marshal was expected to be at the scene around midnight.

Although the resident from 1605 Chestnut St. was not home at the time the fire broke out, that person was transported to OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa after returning home during the fire.

Borkowski did not have an exact time for the explosion; however a woman who lives nearby said she heard the blast around 9:15 p.m.

Naplate, Wallace and Streator Fire Departments along with Utica EMS joined the Ottawa department in responding to the fire. Grand Ridge Fire Department filled the Ottawa station while the Ottawa crew was at the scene.

"Just about everybody around us came in and helped us today," Borkowski said.