When Alan Schardon stepped out of his barn Wednesday morning, he saw his Marengo ranch on fire and local law enforcement officers working to put out the blaze.
“It started in the bedroom,” Schardon said, adding that he believes a power strip could have caused the fire in the 22500 block of Grand Road.
Schardon said he was the only one home about 8:15 a.m., the time of the fire.
“I was cleaning up my truck and I thought I saw smoke, and then saw the sheriff show up,” he said. “By the time I opened the [barn] door, he was already telling me not to go in there. ... It was engulfed.”
Marengo Fire Chief Bob Bradbury said firefighters were dispatched at 8:38 a.m. Wednesday. Emergency services from Union, Woodstock, Harvard and Genoa-Kingston also responded to the fire.
It took about 45 minutes to get the fire under control, and crews remained at the scene a little more than an hour afterward, Bradbury said.
Schardon said the house is a total loss because of smoke, water and fire damage. The surrounding area smelled of burnt wood and plastic.
“We just put a $40,000 kitchen in there. We just had the wood floors done. It was all painted,” Schardon said. “It was nice.”
Bradbury said the fire caused about $150,000 in damage, plus the contents of the house.
“I want to commend [the Marengo Fire Protection District],” Schardon said, adding that firefighters put out the blaze as quickly as possible.
The family’s cat and Brittany spaniel survived and were treated for smoke inhalation, Schardon said, but his beloved 9-year-old German shepherd, Titan, died in the fire.
“I could hear the dogs in there barking,” Schardon said. “It was horrific. ... It was just terrible. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”
Schardon said first responders tried to resuscitate the dog, but to no avail.
Schardon said neighbors took Titan away after he said his goodbyes. He and his wife planned to stay with family Wednesday night.
Bradbury said the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, but there is no reason to believe it was suspicious.