An arrest has been made in the midday residential fire at 1628 Schuyler St., Peru.

Peru police chief Doug Bernabei reported at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday that a suspect, yet to be identified, has been charged with one count of residential arson. It's a Class 1 felony, with a base sentencing range of 4-15 years in prison.

A press release with details of the investigation was expected later. The suspect was considered likely to be brought in to La Salle County Circuit Court for a bond hearing Thursday morning.

Firefighters raced shortly after noon today to fire in a one-story house in the 1600 block of Schuyler Street in Peru that quickly was extinguished — and police confirmed the fire is suspicious.

At 12:25 p.m., Peru police chief Doug Bernabei confirmed the fire in the house at 1628 Schuyler St. was quickly extinguished, but the fire resulted in significant interior damage. Firefighters were, at 12:30 p.m., ventilating the smoke from the dwelling and ensuring all of the fire is out.

Bernabei said a suspicious individual was spotted by an officer about six blocks from the dwelling while on the way to the fire, and soon after, flames were seen coming from the attic. That individual was taken in for questioning, Bernabei said, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal also is looking into the fire.

Fire appeared to originate at the southwest, rear, corner of the house, he said.

"The fire is definitely suspicious. We are not in a position to say it's an arson at this time," the police chief said.

Bernabei said a damage estimate is pending but it did not appear that people could return to reside in the dwelling anytime soon.

Firefighters from Peru and La Salle were on scene as was Peru Volunteer Ambulance Service, with Standard firefighters en route and Ladd manning the Peru station.

Peru police detectives were requested almost immediately as the page for the firefighters went out.

This story will be updated. 

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Tom Collins is the NewsTribune Senior Reporter. He can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.

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