NORMAL – The sole occupant of a home in the 100 block of East Irving Street was pulled from the burning home by Normal Firefighters Sunday evening.
Normal Fire Department responded to the call at 101 E. Irving Street, directly south of Normal Police Department, for the report of flames coming from the basement windows and smoke coming from the roof at 7:15pm. Firefighters arrived on scene and began fire operations and a rapid search of the residence. A greater alarm was requested early on in the incident, which calls in off-duty Normal Firefighters and requests a Rapid Intervention Team from Bloomington Fire Department.
During the initial search, firefighters found the sole occupant of the home on the floor in the back of the home and pulled him to safety. The occupant was transported to Advocate Bromenn Regional Medical Center by Normal Fire Department paramedics.
Firefighters initially fought heavy fire in the basement of the home, but the fire appears spread inside the wall spaces to the attic where it grew to involve the entire attic space as well. Firefighters initially were fighting the fire inside the home, but with heavy fire in the attic, and no more victims located, firefighters evacuated the structure and fought the fire defensively for around an hour until it was safe enough to go back interior. They fought stubborn fire in the attic and second floor and extinguished numerous hot spots and hidden fire for around two hours.
The home was built with balloon-frame construction, which means that the exterior walls are all one assembly without the usual fire stops at each floor like in modern construction. From a firefighting standpoint, a fire that starts in the basement or the attic can easily travel inside the wall spaces to the opposite end with little to no resistance. This construction method was very common, and there are numerous examples of this construction still in use today.
The fire was deemed under control at about 9:45pm, firefighters continued to pull down the ceiling and exterior siding to extinguish hot spots for another hour or so.
The occupant that was transported to the hospital was conscious and talking with paramedics during transport and does not appear to have any life-threatening injuries. There were no other injuries reported from any firefighters on the scene.
The home is heavily damaged, with a collapsed roof, and heavy smoke, fire, and water damage throughout. The estimated damage is unknown at this time. The home was listed for sale, but the occupant was still living in the home and all of his personal property was inside. The home and its contents are insured.
Firefighters began clearing from the scene at around 11:00pm, but crews remain on the scene to assist the Fire Investigation Team as they begin the preliminary work on determining origin and cause of the fire.