Two-story building engulfed in flames in Lyons

Two-story building engulfed in flames in Lyons

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Photo courtesy of NVP News. Photo courtesy of NVP News.
Photo courtesy of NVP News. Photo courtesy of NVP News.
LYONS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A building thought to be southwest suburban Lyons' oldest faced demolition Friday after an overnight fire left little but a charred shell.

The teardown is the final chapter in the decline of the castle-like building, which was constructed in 1857, Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The building was once a vibrant part of our community that unfortunately we've lost," he said.

Firefighters were called to the vacant two-story building at 3901 Jolietearly Friday, authorities said. As of 10 a.m. crews were still on the scene, with plans to demolish the structure, according to the Lyons Fire Department.

No injuries were reported, and an investigation was underway, fire officials said.

While thought to be the oldest structure in the village, it wasn't until the 20th century that the building became known as the "castle building," Getty said. That designation came after it was remodeled to resemble the village's iconic Hofmann Tower, on the banks of the nearby Des Plaines River.

For the last 30 years the building had been under the control of the now-defunct Lyons Chamber of Commerce, Getty said. The building continued to provide storage for the group after it dissolved more than a decade ago and back taxes piled up, he said.

Several attempts were made to buy the building and pay off the taxes, "but the finances just weren't there," said Getty, who believed "tens of thousands of dollars were owed."

"It's a big loss to us," Getty said.

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