Family likely to raze, rebuild Gold Pyramid House after $3M in fire damage

An estimated $3 million in fire and water damage at the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth will likely force its owners to tear down and rebuild the iconic structure, a family spokeswoman said Thursday.

Yolanda Fierro said the owners of the famous house on the 37000 block of Dilleys Road anticipate rebuilding the pyramid “bigger and better” than what was there before.

“We went in there yesterday and the devastation from the water damage was just too much,” Fierro said. “The actual fire damage was limited to only a couple of rooms, but the water pumped in to put the fire out took a large toll on the home.”

“The owner (Jim Onan Jr.) said, one way or another, we will rebuild,” she said. “The house will have to be torn down, but the foundation is there and we will start over.”

Gurnee Fire Department Battalion Chief David Douglass said the cause of Tuesday’s fire is under investigation. The cost of the damages is $3 million, he said.

Fierro said Wednesday a company has been called in to salvage, clean and store the many Egyptian-related artifacts and replicas that were on display in the first- and second-floor museum. It’s unknown what items were saved.

Owners Jim and Linda Onan were not injured in the fire. Linda Onan and a live-in caretaker were able to bring Jim Onan out of the house, authorities said. But 15-year-old Lulu, one of the two dogs that lived in the pyramid, died.

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze. Three suffered smoke inhalation, one injured a shoulder and one injured a knee. Douglass said all five firefighters have or will soon return to work.

Wadsworth Village Manager Moses Amidei said he spoke with Jim Onan Thursday afternoon and told him when Onan is ready, the village is happy to meet with him and go over his plans.

“There’s nothing concrete yet. He has his ideas in his head but not on paper yet,” Amidei said. “They intend to keep the pyramid, and we’re happy to hear that.”

Amidei said Oman told him the family might not include a residential component in the Gold Pyramid House rebuild.

The Onans built the pyramid in 1977 to be their home as well as to give tours. The house has been featured on many national television shows, such as “Home Strange Home with Chuck Nice,” “Home Made” on the Travel Channel and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

• Daily Herald staff writer Doug T. Graham contributed to this report.

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