Fire destroys workshop building

Firefighters finish up extinguishing a blaze early Wednesday afternoon that destroyed a workshop behind a home at 7978 Old State Road in Mattoon. 

MATTOON -- Firefighters extinguished a blaze early Wednesday afternoon that destroyed a detached garage workshop behind a residence along Old State Road, just east of Country Club Road.

The Mattoon Fire Department reported that personnel from their department and the Lincoln Fire Protection District were dispatched at 12:18 p.m. to a report of a structure fire at 7978 Country Club Road.

"Upon arrival, fire crews observed heavy fire and smoke from the building. While approaching the building, several explosions were heard and felt," said Fire Chief Tony Nichols in a press release. "Fire crews deployed multiple hand lines and began a defensive fire attack. During the fire attack, half of the building collapsed."

Nichols said the building and its contents were a total loss. He said no injuries were reported for the residents at the scene or the firefighters, but the family's pet dog did not make it out of the structure. He said the cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.

"I am just glad no one was hurt," said neighbor Lisa Dufrain at the scene on Wednesday. Her mother, Gloria Dobbs, owns and lives at the home where the workshop was destroyed by the fire.

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DuFrain said her brother, Mike Dobbs, was in the workshop at the time of the fire and got out just before flames spread through the structure. She said her brother lost his dog, Petey, to the fire. She said the workshop had stored recreational vehicles, tools, and other items.

The flames could be seen from Old State Road, which was temporarily closed to traffic, and from the neighborhoods along Broadmoor and Edgewater to the south.

Shift Capt. Robert Alexander said the ground around the workshop was already wet from rainfall and melting snow when the fire occurred, and the ground was then inundated by water from the fire houses.

"It turned into a soupy mess," Alexander said, adding that the ground was starting to glaze over with ice as firefighters cleared the scene at 3:15 p.m.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud



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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