MATTOON -- Firefighters have credited a smoke detector with alerting occupants to a fire early Sunday morning in their rural Mattoon home.

Wabash Fire Protection District safety officer Gary Kepley said occupants at Charles Baxter's residence, 830 E. County Road 750N, were sleeping when the sounds of the smoke detector awoke them. Kepley said they saw that smoke was filling the house, so they evacuated the structure and called 911 for help.

"The smoke detector was working and did alert them to the danger," Kepley said. He noted that no injuries were reported.

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Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at approximately 1:20 a.m. Sunday. Kepley said personnel from the Mattoon Fire Department and the Cooks Mills Fire Protection District were also called to the scene. He said they extinguished the fire, and the last firefighters cleared from the scene about three hours later.

Kepley said the fire started under the kitchen floor, but the exact cause remains undetermined. He said the house sustained heavy damage from smoke and water, and some of the rooms sustained fire damage as well. He added that firefighters needed to bust a couple of holes in the brick foundation walls within the crawl space to access the fire.

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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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