UPDATE: Two juveniles have been charged in connection with the Kewanee Boiler fire, according to a news release from the Kewanee Police Department.
Officers with the Kewanee Police Department investigated reports from witnesses about a group of juveniles who were seen leaving the vicinity just before the fire started. A Kewanee Police Department in-car camera recorded footage of these juveniles in the area as officers arrived. After several hours of searching into the early hours of Sunday, November 5, the officers found and apprehended two juveniles in connection with the incident. A 15-year-old faces charges of criminal trespass to property and a 16-year-old faces charges of criminal trespass to property and criminal damage to property by means of fire.
Both were released with juvenile referral forms for the Henry County Juvenile Probation Office. The investigation into this incident is ongoing and there may be more charges filed. Anyone with information on this fire should call the Kewanee Police Department at (309) 853-1911.
EARLIER: A piece of Kewanee’s history was lost to fire last night.
The former Kewanee Boiler office building, in the 100 block of Franklin Street, was destroyed in a fire last night. Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore posted the news on his Facebook page.
“Tonight we were saddened to find out the Kewanee Boiler Shop was on fire. We hate to see a Kewanee landmark burning to the ground. Our Kewanee Fire, Kewanee Police Departments and Kewanee Public Works, Geneseo Fire Department, Henry County OEM, Henry County Sheriff’s Department and a host of volunteers coming out to help battle this fire.”
Kewanee Boiler began in 1868 when Valerius Anderson started a company to make steam heating devices to heat animal feed. In 1871 Anderson Steam Heater, as the company was called, began making steam boilers for homes and businesses. In 1900, they moved to a new facility, where the company continued to grow until its end in the late 1900s. The company finally closed in 2002.
The fire is still under investigation.