East Douglas Fire Under Investigation By State Fire Marshall

By Benjamin Cox on June 16, 2020 at 5:02pm

A Jacksonville structure fire yesterday is being investigated by the Illinois State Fire Marshall. Jacksonville and South Jacksonville firefighters arrived at 5:41 a.m. to find a two story house at 710 East Douglas Avenue fully engulfed on the east and north side of the home. Fire Department Lieutenant Dan Klendworth says that suppressing the fire yesterday was complicated due to the design of the interior of the vacant structure. “Our members started to enact overhaul, which is searching for fire traveling into hidden spots within a structure. It was noted in our report that in the overall attack to suppress the fire was complex because there had been extensive modification to this two story structure, which created a lot of void spaces in the ceiling and the structure was subdivided. There was very limited access to all parts of the house. During salvage and overhaul, we had to ladder up to the second story of the home to even get to the second floor.”

Klendworth said that the home had no utilities operating at the address and no electrical or gas lines were running to the structure, and the home was deemed unoccupied. Klendworth says that Fire Captain Mike Martin and the Jacksonville Police Department immediately began an investigation in the neighborhood. “Captain Martin interviewed neighbors and spoke with police on the scene. The neighbors and police both stated that there had been reports of many alleged homeless people in and out of the structure. Jacksonville Police also stated that they had cleared the house a week prior, and there was evidence there had been small fires set in the structure and specifically mentioned was small burnt lottery tickets. The neighbor said they had not seen anyone in or around the home within the last 24 hours prior to the fire, so it is being viewed as suspicious in nature.”

Klendworth says he doesn’t have a timeline on when the investigation by the State Fire Marshall’s Office will be completed. Klendworth said one firefighter received a small hand injury during the suppression yesterday but has since been treated and is back to work today with no issues. No one was found in or near the structure at the time of the fire. Damage was estimated at $40,000. If you have any information about the fire, you can all the Jacksonville Police Department at 479-4630.