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Fire destroys Morris home

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 9:07 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 9:34 p.m. CDT

MORRIS — A Morris family returned home Monday night to find their two-story house on fire. The family immediately called 911 just before 9 p.m., and for the next three hours, firefighters from 13 local agencies battled the flames. Located at 9930 Scott School Road, the home and everything inside were deemed a total loss with damages estimated at $275,000, according to a release from the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District. The fire has displaced Gary and Debra Schlappi and their family, who were identified through the property search function on the Grundy County Supervisor of Assessor's website. "After a fire, we have means of providing hotel rooms for victims, but they said they have family in the area that they can stay with," Chief Tracey Steffes of Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District said Tuesday. Steffes said the homeowner, Gary Schlappi, is a 30-year veteran firefighter for the Lisbon Seward Fire District. A Morris firefighter on the front line fractured two ribs while battling the blaze. He was transported from the scene to Morris Hospital, where he was treated and released. “The fire ground is a very active and dangerous place," Steffes said in the release. "This fire shows even when you take precaution to reduce your exposure to injuries they still happen." The fire was ruled accidental by the MABAS Division 15 Fire Investigators comprised of members from Morris, Troy, Verona Kinsman, and the Elwood Fire Districts and the Plainfield Police Department. The cause is still under investigation, but Steffes said they believe it began in the kitchen area. "It's definitely not suspicious," Steffes said. "We've kind of got it tracked down to the area around the refrigerator, in the kitchen area, that was an electrical fire." The fire's size and the lack of a positive water source created a challenge for firefighters, but crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading to a nearby garage and propane tank, according to the release. A friend, known on Facebook as Heidi Komnick Coultrip, is collecting donations for the Schlappi family who have two teenage daughters. Coultrip said the family have lost everything. Donations of clothes, tolietries or other essentials can be dropped off at the Lisbon-Seward Fire Department located at 104 S Canal St., Lisbon, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day until June 24.

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