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BLOOMINGTON — The cause of a fire that destroyed an east side apartment building and left seven families homeless remains undetermined and investigators aren’t sure if they'll ever be able to determine how it started.

"The roof collapsed on the second floor and the second floor collapsed onto the first floor,” Bloomington Fire Department spokesman Stuart Blade said Wednesday. “At this time, we cannot even get to the source of the fire.

"Even to get to that area is going to take some time and we are not even sure we are even going to be able to get to that point.”

The fire, reported at 3:08 p.m. Feb. 10, displaced 29 people from the 12-unit, two-story building at 1101 Gettysburg Drive. Investigators placed the damage at $650,000.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was treated at a local hospital and released. There were no injuries reported.

Attempts to contact the building's owner, Wayne Pelhank, have not been successful. He is due in McLean County Circuit Court on Thursday for a status hearing on an ordinance violation pertaining to another property he owns in Bloomington.

The Gettysburg Drive property is one of 13 that Pelhank owns in the Twin Cities, according to McLean County property records. City records indicate  inspectors completed an inspection of the Gettysburg property on Sept. 6 and found 262 code violations.

Pelhank reportedly fixed eight of those violations before the property was inspected again on Dec. 18. Around 36 more had been fixed by Jan. 30.

The violations included smoke alarm issues, missing doors, windows that wouldn’t open and cockroaches.

Follow Kevin Barlow on Twitter: @pg_barlow


Agriculture Reporter

Agriculture reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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