Mattoon firefighters battle a blaze on South Sixth Street about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.


MATTOON -- A fire damaged a two-story apartment building along South Sixth Street late Tuesday afternoon.

Assistant Chief Sean Junge of the Mattoon Fire Department said the fire did not results in injuries to any of the occupants of the apartment building, 606 S. Sixth St., or the firefighters who were called to the scene.

Firefighters were dispatched at approximately 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to the fire in this building, part of the Diepholz Apartments complex. Flames were visible along the balcony roof line of an apartment at the southeast corner of the building when the emergency responders arrived.

The firefighters extinguished the visible exterior flames within seconds using a fire hose and then proceeded to put out the fire within the structure. They used an extension ladder to climb onto the roof of the two-story building and then opened a hole in the roof. A column of thick, black smoke rose from this opening.

"There was a lot of heat and smoke and a little bit of fire up in the attic," Junge said. He added that the hole created in the roof by firefighters helped vent heat and smoke out of the apartments below.

Junge said once the visible flames were extinguished, firefighters then started searching for any remaining hot spots in the ceiling and walls. He said they then planned to try to determine the origin point and cause of the fire, which was centered on two upstairs apartments on the east side of the building.

Mattoon resident Johnadine Alvis said she and her husband, Don, were driving north on Sixth Street when they saw the flames at the apartment building and pulled over into the parking lot there to call 911.

Alvis said another woman at the scene blared her car horn repeatedly to get the attention of the building's occupants and warn them about the fire.

"That brought a lot of people out," Alvis said. "It brought people out of the building, I'll say that."

Occupants of the fire-damaged apartment building and the adjacent building at 602 S. Sixth St. gathered in the parking lot while firefighters did their work at the scene. Mattoon police officers closed the adjacent section of Sixth Street to traffic during the fire.



Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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