HOOPESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — The former Firestone in Hoopeston went up in flames this afternoon.

Crews battled the fire for hours at the intersection of IL Route 1 and Penn St. The damaged was so bad, they needed to tear the whole building down.

Five other departments came to help out.

“We came in for massive smoke and flames shooting out of the building,” said Hoopeston Chief Joel Bird. “Once we arrived, we noticed the building was totally involved.”

Crews were able to put out the flames, but because of the structural integrity of the building, Bird says it wasn’t safe for firefighters to go back inside when flames reignited.

“As we’re tearing it down it’s adding oxygen to the fire and it’s reigniting in the spots we needed to get, that’s why it’s being tore down,” said Bird.

Chief Bird says someone was renting out of the Old Firestone building.

“I was informed They were supposed to be evicting the people today,” said Bird.

For hours the smoke was lingering when the demolition crews came. Flames sparked several times until they eventually knocked the main wall down.

“It’s a little cold for us but we’re getting the job done with a little bit of rain and snow,” said Bird.

And while it is unclear what startd the fire, Chief Bird says it’s a good time to remind people about fire safety, especially as the colder months means more people are using space heaters and turning on their furnaces.

“Make sure you’ve got a good new space heater,” said Bird. “Make sure your plugs are good before you put it through the wall. Don’t run them when you’re not home.”

Chief Bird says he is just thankful no one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Chief Bird says the next steps would hopefully be remediation from the building’s owner.