In their stocking feet Sunday afternoon, he and his wife used linseed oil to finish a set of worn stairs on the first floor of the two-story structure. When the job was done, they realized their socks were ruined.
But late Sunday, with the building unoccupied, the oily socks ignited inside the otherwise empty plastic can, said Peoria Heights Fire Chief Greg Walters. He said that oils like linseed oil, if compressed — such as within a clump of cloth materials, like socks — will heat up and catch the cloth on fire.
That is what occurred inside the Trefzger’s trash can, which melted next to cake-preparation table. A bag inside the can burned and melted, with embers falling onto cardboard boxes under the table. The boxes then caught fire, triggering a fire alarm and Trefzger’s sprinkler system just before 11:30 p.m.
A crew stretched water lines inside to extinguish the fire, containing the fire damage to that area. The sprinkler system also helped slow the spread of the fire, Walters said. Assisting were firefighters from Peoria, West Peoria and Chillicothe, while Limestone Township firefighters provided back-up coverage.
Walters said that the structure sustained no damage from the actual fire. However, smoke and water damage is extensive, he said. The total loss — including cleanup, plus potential lost revenue and wages — is estimated between $100,000 and $250,000, Walters said.
After contacting his insurer, Jeff Huebner said the business will be closed for a couple of days while a cleanup service — already on the scene Monday morning — put the place back in working order. At the end of the cleanup, the Peoria City/County Health Department will examine the business to clear it for operations again.