Beardstown Mayor Says Determining Cause of Sunday Fire Could Take Time, Chief Remains Hospitalized

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 20, 2021 at 5:05pm

The Meyer Hotel Apartment Building smolders Monday following a Sunday night blaze that left 13 people homeless. Photo courtesy of WICS News Channel 20

An area Fire Chief has remained hospitalized following a three alarm fire Sunday night in Beardstown.

Beardstown Mayor Tim Harris confirmed to WICS and KHQA late yesterday that Beardstown Fire Chief Brian Becker was still in the hospital yesterday.

Harris says Becker is in “completely stable” condition and could be released as soon as today.

Becker was hospitalized late Sunday along with two other firefighters and a resident of the Meyer Hotel apartment building when according to reports, a portion of the structure collapsed during fire suppression efforts.

The fire call came in at approximately 8:38 pm to the building located at 601 East Fourth Street in Beardstown. Eight separate fire departments responded to the fire, including crews from both Jacksonville and South Jacksonville.

Crews from both Beardstown and Arenzville fire departments continued fire suppression efforts through mid-morning on Monday at the complex that has been deemed a total loss.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is continuing to investigate the incident. Harris told WICS it could be quite sometime before the investigation determines a cause of the blaze.

Harris says the resident and two other injured firefighters have been released from the hospital. Assistant Chief Brandon Hager and Chris McClenning are currently serving as acting fire chiefs in Becker’s absence. A call Thursday afternoon to Mayor Harris by WLDS News has not been returned as of press time.