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Strasburg Fire 1 (07/13/18)

Smoke billows from the old Strasburg Elementary School building Friday. A blaze consumed the building's interior earlier in the day. 

STRASBURG -- The former elementary school building in the village caught fire at 10:30 a.m. Friday following a controlled burn next to the building.

Darrin Storm, a firefighter with the Strasburg Fire Protection District, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but preliminary findings suggest the fire was caused by a controlled burn just north of the building.

Storm said contractors were doing some remodeling and deconstruction work to the building, including burning pieces from the building in a controlled fire outside, but the fire grew.

"It was a controlled burn that got out of control," Storm said.

The fire spread throughout the rest of the structure. Storm said by the time firefighters arrived, the goal was to simply control the fire and ensure the fire did not spread.

Water pressure was an issue when fighting the fire, Storm noted. Strasburg does not have water in the village water tower, Storm said, so firefighters needed to call in aid from neighboring departments for water to tackle the blaze.

Strasburg Fire 2 (07/13/18)

Remnants from the old Strasburg Elementary School building smolder Friday. A blaze consumed the building interior earlier that day. 

In all, Strasburg received assistance from the Windsor and Stewardson protection districts and the Shelbyville Fire Department when fighting the fire.

Storm said the water tower was empty because of work that was being done on the water lines in the village.

"If we have a fire, a major fire, we have to go to neighboring towns to pull water in," he said.

The majority of the blaze was snuffed out in approximately an hour and a half after firefighters responded. As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, firefighters were monitoring the building. At that time, flames were still present in small sections of the structure.

There were no injuries as a result of the blaze, but the building, which had not been used for more than 15 years, was totaled, Storm said. The building once housed the village elementary school and later a bar. All that remained of the building Friday afternoon was charred wood and its brick exterior. Prior to the fire, the roof of the building had already caved in.

Storm said this has been the biggest fire the volunteer department has dealt with in about a year. He noted a shed fire was the last big fire call they responded to.

Strasburg Fire 3 (07/13/18)

Firefighters stand just outside of the smoking shell of what used to be the Strasburg Elementary School building Friday.

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Contact Jarad Jarmon at (217) 238-6839. Follow him on Twitter: @JJarmonReporter



Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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