ASSUMPTION — Firefighters are praising the actions of a visiting shift worker early Saturday who knocked on doors to wake families in Assumption and warn them that their building was on fire.
Assumption Fire and Ambulance District Chief Herb Palmer said the GSI plant worker, on his way to a 5 a.m. shift, saw smoke coming from escape from the four-unit, one-story apartment building at 122 S. Oak St.
“He knocked on doors to wake everyone up and he got everyone out except one person in an apartment,” Palmer added. “And two of our firefighters came in and got this guy out; no one was hurt.
Firefighters praised the passerby on their Facebook page, offering him a “huge thank you” for his efforts. “He was definitely there at the right time,” Palmer said.
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Firefighters had been notified at 4:30 a.m. and arrived to see smoke and flames coming through the west end of the building’s roof.
“I would say most of the fire started in the attic between the roof and the apartment ceilings,” Palmer said. “I believe the building is a total loss due to roof damage and all water damage.”
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He said an expert from the state fire marshal’s office was not due to inspect the fire site until Tuesday, but the chief believes the cause was accidental. Palmer said the fire appeared to have erupted from a stove in one of the apartments.
“There is no suggestion that the cause was suspicious,” he said.
Firefighters remained on site until 10:00 a.m. Saturday and had mutual aid from Moweaqua and Pana.
The fire displaced four adults, a 3-year-old child, a dog and a cat. Palmer, speaking on Sunday, said he understands all have found alternative accommodation.
Its firefighters also shouted out to nearby businesses who they said stepped in to help by providing hot chocolate, coffee and sandwiches to the scene.
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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid