A Henry Street house suffered “heavy damage” during a fire Sunday morning, according to Pontiac Fire Chief Scott Runyon. The fire went unnoticed over the course of a few hours. However, despite the high heat and smoke damage, Runyon believed the structure could again be inhabitable, but it would require significant repairs.
    Runyon said that Pontiac Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 417 W. Henry St. at 6:51 a.m. Sunday. On arrival, smoke was visible to the crew on the south side of the building with flames showing in the west basement window. Once the fire was determined to be in the basement, Runyon noted, it was determined that this would be the PFD's first point of attack.
    During the advancement, Runyon noted, fire started to show in the first floor windows on the south side of the building. A second line was stretched and some of the attack was directed from the exterior in the attempt to knock down the spread of fire. According to Runyon, it was determined during this attack that the first floor of the building was burned through and the front door was not passible for attack.
    Once the basement fire was knocked down, the second line was taken to the rear and advanced to the first floor, said the fire chief. A primary search was completed of the first floor and an attempt was made to search the second floor but was unsuccessful due to high heat. The fire was knocked down on the first floor and a third line was advanced to the second floor and a primary search was conducted.
    Runyon stated that the home was under renovation by the owners and was basically empty of furniture and belongings.
    “It is believed, but unconfirmed, that the fire may have started from the improper disposal of staining rags on the first floor that may have spontaneously ignited, burned through the floor and into the plenum of the furnace which spread the fire through the duct work under the first floor, burning away a large portion of the first floor,” he said.
    The PFD was at the scene for just under four hours and were assisted by Cullom, Fairbury, Odell, Cornell, Chenoa and Duffy Ambulance.