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Fire at unoccupied Mattoon house under renovation

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MATTOON — Crews with the Mattoon Fire Department extinguished a fire early Monday morning in an unoccupied house that is under renovation along Western Avenue.

Fire Chief Jeff Hilligoss reported in a press release that the department received a call at approximately 2 a.m. Monday on its station phone asking for a smoke investigation to be conducted in the 2600 block of Champaign Avenue. He said personnel on the responding engine noticed a light haze of smoke in the air.

"At approximately 2:10 a.m., after driving around several blocks, crews found the residence at 2700 Western Ave. with smoke coming from the structure, and an active fire inside the residence on the first floor," Hilligoss said.

Western Avenue fire scene

Broken windows and singed soffit can be seen late Monday morning at the house at 2700 Western Ave., where the Mattoon Fire Department extinguished a fire early that morning. The house was unoccupied and under renovation at the time.

The captain on scene immediately notified the remaining on duty crew to respond and requested additional resources by activating a second alarm, Hilligoss said. He added that the crews deployed two hand lines, one to the first floor where the fire originated and the other to the second floor.

Hilligoss said a search was conducted simultaneously of the entire residence to search for any occupants who might have still been inside. He said crews determined quickly that this house was not occupied and was under renovations, due to the lack of furnishing inside the residence. He said Mattoon police had contacted the owner, and were advised that it should be unoccupied as it was being renovated. He said the search found nobody inside the residence.

"Crews then worked on extinguishing the fire on both the first and second floors and conducted overhaul operations to check for any fire extension," Hilligoss said. "There was extensive fire, smoke, and water damage to the entire structure."

Hilligoss said there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters during this fire. He said the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office was contacted to assist with the fire investigation, noting that the cause is still under investigation.

The Mattoon Fire Department was also assisted at the scene by Coles-Moultrie 911, Charleston Fire Department, Lincoln Fire Protection District, Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance and Ameren Illinois.

Contact Rob Stroud at 217-238-6861.


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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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