WIUM Local
2:47 am
Thu March 4, 2010

Fire Destroys Building on Macomb Square

Macomb, IL – Two businesses were destroyed but no one was injured in a smokey fire on the south side of Macomb's courthouse square.

Fire Chief Andy Taylor said fire walls played a major role in containing the flames.

"If they didn't have that protection there, it would have very easily extended to the other buildings and we'd be looking at losing at least half the square at that point," said Taylor during a news briefing at 11:30pm.

The building housed Chelsea's Hallmark store and Vision Consultants Ltd. Other buildings on the south side of the square were evacuated as a precaution.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 7:15pm on March 3. Taylor said the heat and smoke quickly built up in the building, forcing firefighters into a defensive mode . He chose that approach to protect personnel and to prevent the fire from spreading to adjoining buildings.

Macomb firefighters received assistance from the Good Hope, Colchester, Emmet-Chalmers, Monmouth, and Canton fire departments. Monmouth and Canton provided ladder trucks to help Macomb's ladder truck.

"We used the ladder trucks to keep the fire contained to just the Chelsea's building," said Taylor.

Firefighters also ventilated the roof to allow smoke and flames to shoot up instead of spreading into neighboring buildings.

Crews stayed on the scene overnight in case any hot spots flared up.

It's not yet known what started the fire. Taylor said he and two other members of the Macomb department are trained investigators. He might also call for some state assistance with the investigation and he anticipates insurance investigators will want to take a look at the fire scene.

You can listen to the 11:30pm news briefing by clicking on the audio button.