10:48 a.m. update:

Watseka fire officials say three apartments and two businesses are a total loss after a fire in the downtown area.

The Deputy Fire Chief tells us they got the call around 5:30 this morning. The fire began in the apartments above destroying them and the connected businesses below. Those include Edward Jones Investment, which had light smoke damage. Gary Cahoe’s barbershop, which celebrated 50 years in 2021, was also destroyed.

As of this update, crews had the fire under control and were on the defensive, using tower ladders to reach the blaze. Seven residents from the apartments were home during the fire and are now displaced. They’re being assisted by the local Red Cross. One firefighter was also sent to the hospital for a heat-related injury.

The Deputy Fire Chief also informed us that 17 fire companies were on hand for the fire.

Original story:

WATSEKA, Ill. (WCIA) — Watseka Police officials said a fire broke out in town Tuesday morning.

It is in the downtown area at Fourth and Walnut streets. Big flames and thick smoke were seen shooting from the roof of a building. Watseka Mayor John Allhands said several departments responded to the scene. He also said fatigue and heat have been an issue all morning.

The Zone Gym in Watseka posted on their Facebook page saying the fire knocked the power out at their building. They said Ameren crews are hoping to restore power by 12:15 p.m.

Police officials said to avoid the downtown area as crews continue their work.