Sunday morning, area firefighters spent hours battling a house fire that consumed a house on 710 Road near Fairbury.
Fairbury Rural Fire Department Chief Kenny Krause explained that at roughly 7:28 a.m., there was a report of a house being on fire. The report was called in from the hospital.
“Dispatch was notified by the hospital where someone reported that their house was fully involved,” said Krause. “The people inside the house left to go to the hospital for treatment for some injuries and smoke inhalation. They didn’t have a way to call the fire department, so they notified dispatch through the hospital. When we arrived, we found that the fire was still contained inside the structure pretty well.”
Krause believed that, when they arrived on scene, they would be able to contain the blaze in a short amount of time. However, as firefighters began working to put out the fire, they were met with some challenges that hindered their efforts.
“The thing that made it a struggle for us was there were two roofs that had been remodeled, so when we cut a hole in one roof, we weren’t getting to the fire because there was another roof in it,” Krause said. “We had the same problem trying to attack it from underneath because we’d pull one ceiling and there would be another ceiling above it. Initially, it didn’t look like it was going to be anything too tough for us, but we couldn’t get to the scene of the fire that was between the roofs and the ceiling, so it made for a lot of extra work to get it put out. We fought hard to get the fire put out.”
As the blaze continued the department requested mutual aid from Jansen Fire Department and Diller Fire and Rescue. Other agencies that responded to the call include the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Fairbury City Fire Department, Ambulance District #33 and Jefferson County Emergency Management, who provided rehabilitative support for the firefighters.
“Jansen and Diller responded with engines and tankers,” said Krause. “We didn’t use the engines, but we used the water tankers and the water shuttle. The Salvation Army’s Rescue 17 truck was also there to refill our air bottles and the City of Fairbury brought out their engine when Rescue 17 couldn’t fill air bottles any longer. I thought the mutual aid went very well. We’re working together really well.”
Krause stated that this case is unique, noting that the firefighters used more air than normal. He believes the increased usage is due to the conditions on scene.
“We used more air on this call than on any other call I can remember,” Krause said. “One reason is that the smoke wasn’t rising, so we were in the smoke on the ground. Another reason is the firefighters’ health. Firefighters are using more air than we used to instead of just breathing smoke. They’re using the air like they should, which is a good thing.”
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the State Fire Marshall. Krause stated that due to the amount of fire and water damage, the house is a total loss.
“There is a lot of fire and water damage on the inside of the house,” said Krause. “Ceilings have fallen. We had to cut a lot of vent holes in the roof too.”
Krause noted that there were some injuries from the blaze. One of the occupants of the house was transported to the burn center to be treated for burns to their hands. Two others were treated for smoke inhalation and released. One of the firefighters was also injured on the scene from falling into the basement, though, according to Krause, that firefighter is only reporting some soreness.
(Photos By Georgann Friedrichsen And Shaun Friedrichsen)