WHEATON – Fire investigators and insurance representatives are making final evaluations before repairs can begin at the Wheaton train station at 402 W. Front St. following a fire Nov. 22.
The station remains closed. No one was injured in the fire, which has been determined to be accidental in nature. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
"The city of Wheaton is working with Metra and Union Pacific Railroad to coordinate the necessary repairs, which are expected to take place over the next 45 days," a city of Wheaton news release stated. "Once temporary repairs can be made, the commuter waiting and ticket areas will be reopened."
The release noted Metra passengers have other options for purchasing tickets while the station is closed, including purchasing tickets online at metrarail.com/tickets, purchasing tickets through the free Ventra App available on Apple or Android smartphones and buying tickets directly from the conductor while on board.
The public address system also is currently inoperable until further notice, and riders are urged to use caution near the platform and to check metrarail.com for any platform changes.
Trains continue to operate on a normal schedule, and service will not be affected.
At about 10:50 p.m. Nov. 22, the Wheaton Fire Department was dispatched to an automatic fire alarm at the train station in downtown Wheaton, according to a previous city news release.
Upon arrival, fire crews identified a fire in a storage/furnace room on the building's north side, the release stated. The fire was brought under control within minutes, according to the release.
The city of Wheaton leases the building from Metra. After conducting a fire investigation, the Fire Department said the fire appears to have been related to a malfunctioning heater unit, the release stated.
Fire officials said it is unknown exactly how the unit started the fire – whether it was an electrical malfunction or an overheated motor – but it was identified as a contributing factor, according to the release.
The building was posted as unsafe for occupancy because of the damage, the release stated.
The Wheaton Fire Department was assisted on the scene by the Wheaton Police Department and several fire departments from neighboring communities, according to the release.