I-80 Equipment bankruptcy documents show reason for further investigation

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COLONA, Illinois - Fire crews fought the fire at I-80 Equipment for hours back in February. The business, which refurbished bucket trucks and sold them nationwide, burned to the ground.

The fire came two months after owner Erik Jones filed for bankruptcy. News Eight pulled those bankruptcy documents, they show he took out a $12 million loan from First Midwest Bank in 2015.

Three years later in November of 2017, the bank found 115 pieces of equipment valued at more than $5 million missing.

"The Iowa 80 Equipment getting burnt down, how did it get burnt down? Why is nobody ever around to take care of things here? Why is there nobody there to answer the phones? The questions always there," said tenant.

Jones also owns rental homes and apartment complexes. News Eight spoke with a woman who rents an apartment from Jones.

She says she's had problems with maintenance and can't get in contact with anyone from the company to help.

The fear of losing her apartment kept her from disclosing her identity and she isn't alone, several people reached out the News Eight, both tenants and former I-80 Equipment employees, afraid to speak out.

"It's very unsettling with this whole bankruptcy business now knowing what's gonna happen, nobody's even let us know anything," said tenant.

Jones ran all of his businesses out of the Colona building. After the fire, all that was left was a laptop and 'Jones Electronic Records.'

According to court documents, those records could show that Jones illegally shifted money between his businesses.

Now, the State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

News Eight reached out to Jones and have yet to hear back.

Jones is set to have another bankruptcy hearing later this month, at that hearing he will be asked to release over a dozen titles to customers who allegedly never received them.

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