Sparks from a grinder started a fire that destroyed a longtime Polo business Monday morning.
Polo Fire Chief Tony Karrow said Dambman Lawn Mower Hospital, 605 S. Congress Ave., was completely engulfed by flames when firefighters arrived on the scene shortly before 11 a.m.
“Fire was rolling out the front, and big black smoke was high in the air,” he said. “They could see the smoke from Byron and Dixon. We were able to keep the fire from getting to the garage and house to the north and the house to the south.”
Former owner Gene Dambman safely escaped from the burning building where he was working when the fire began around 10:48 a.m.
The business is owned by Dambman’s son Jared.
Karrow said the fire was accidental, and a representative from the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office was on the scene late Monday afternoon to help determine the cause.
Firefighters from several area departments worked until around 4 p.m. to extinguish the fire.
“Several hot spots popped up,” Karrow said.
Two buildings, several lawn tractors, and other equipment and supplies were destroyed in the blaze.
Dambmans have sold and serviced lawn mowers at the location since 1977.
Polo firefighters were assisted by the Mt. Morris, Oregon, Byron, Stillman Valley, Lanark, Milledgeville, Dixon City, Sterling, and Franklin Grove Fire Departments, as well as Advance and ATS ambulances.
A second fire was reported in mid-afternoon while firefighters were still at the Dambman fire.
Karrow said the resident of a house approximately two blocks south on Congress Avenue reported flames coming from a faulty outlet.
He said firefighters made sure the fire was out and little damage was done.