Fire Likely Furnace Related in Large New Year’s Eve Blaze

1/2/19 – Studstill Media Photo – (from left) Peru Fire Chief Jeff King, Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei, Joe Witczak

PERU – A press conference Wednesday morning talked about the massive response to the New Years Eve fire in Peru at Witczak Brothers Auto Repair. The building was destroyed that housed the shop, however, nobody was injured in the blaze that drew over 100 firefighters and 22 police officers to the scene. Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei noted that they had activated area police departments to provide support with controlling traffic, including officers from as far away as Princeton and Ottawa. Peru Fire Chief Jeff King stated that due to the construction of the building they had to switch to a defensive attack because of the risk of the ceiling collapsing. Joe Witczak thanked the community, including neighboring businesses who offered help. A preliminary investigation by the Peru Fire Department indicated that the start of the fire was from a broken exhaust pipe on an oil furnace.