GIBSON CITY — Gibson City’s fire chief said a house fire on Independence Day likely was caused by an electrical problem that resulted from a tree limb falling on a power line next to the home earlier in the day.
An estimated 32 volunteer firefighters from Gibson City, Elliott and Melvin responded to the fire at the 1 1/2-story home at 224 N. Wood St. around 8:05 p.m. Thursday, said Bruce Kallal, chief of the Gibson Area Fire Protection District.
Upon firefighters’ arrival, smoke was coming from between the south end of the residence and its attached garage, Kallal said.
At some point earlier in the day, a tree limb fell on a nearby Ameren Illinois-owned service wire that was providing electricity to the house, Kallal said. The live wire was not touching the house, but Kallal said it was “certainly possible” it started the blaze.
“That fault on the service (wire) may have caused some over-voltage in the house, which may have caused a short,” Kallal said.
Damage was estimated to be in the “100,000 range,” Kallal said, and included fire damage to the interior of the home’s south end, basement and attached garage, plus smoke and water damage elsewhere in the home.
The home’s owner, who was not there when the fire was called in by a passerby, had homeowner’s insurance, Kallal said.
The homeowner is now staying with family members, Kallal said.