WESTVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A massive fire burned an apartment to the ground and the family who lived there won’t have a home to come back to.
The fire happened Monday afternoon in Westville across from the Dollar General on Route 1.
A family of four lived inside and they all made it out safely. Westville Fire got the call just before 1:00pm, Shortly after talking to the family, Fire Chief Gary Wright was able to figure out this was an accident. But that’s not the only accident that happened that day.
A pile of ashes and rubble is all that’s left of the apartment.
Chief Wright says, “We immediately went to defensive fire mode to keep it in that building.”
The family got out safely. But it’s a crew that came to help them that ended up getting hurt.
Mike Marron saw it all happen from across the street. He said, “I heard a horrible crash and I ooked out the window and saw the truck rolling down the highway. It was crazy.”
Right down the road, a tanker truck was on it’s way to bring extra water. Just as it crossed the intersection, it collided with another car.
Marron says, “It was just shocking, I’ve never seen anything like that up close. We tried to bust out the window of the van and get the door open.”
Two fire fighters and the person driving the car were taken to the hospital. Chief Wright says miraculously all three are expected to be ok.
Many people stopped to look up at the smoke and flames from the apartment fire.
Richard Falconio says, “The apartment on the other side of that is my apartment. I smelled smoke. I could feel the heat from the fire.”
The blast of the flames could be heard and seen by the entire town. With the help of more than 10 fire crews and thousands of gallons of water, the fire is out. But the building was crumbling. Hours after the fire started crews are still here spraying the entire building and when they’ve made sure all the flames are out, they’re going to tear the whole building down to the ground.
Chief Wright says this all began with the people who lived inside the apartment.
“The lady was doing something and she started the fire on accident. Nothing malicious.”
They’re without a home, but not all hope was lost. The Red Cross was there to take care of them with food, water, and some comfort.
There’s a tax company and a computer repair store connected to the apartment. They have a little water and smoke damage, but nothing major.