When the Gong Rings

A Fire History of Charleston, Illinois

164-b    FIRE LOG



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       The Michael Oliver residence, 221 S. 4th in Charleston was badly damaged by a fire which broke out at approximately 10:21 A.M. Tuesday. Capt. Mel Taylor of the CFD said that Mrs. Oliver and her two children were in the home when the fire started. "She had to get them out in a hurry. I guess they were upstairs. Taylor said the fire caused "heavy damage throughout the house and quite a loss to clothing and furniture. "The fire was more severe at the N.W. part of the upstairs; Taylor said the fire caused "heavy damage throughout the house and quite a loss to clothing and furniture. The fire was more severe at the N.W. part of the upstairs. The inside of the house was burned completely out," Taylor said. Firemen were on the scene until 12:45 P.M. "We rolled everything," said Taylor. "We had two pumpers and the ladder truck. We had all the equipment and firemen there." "This is the first bad fire we have had for some time," said Taylor. He said no estimate has been made of the damage. Taylor said it is not known at this time how the fire started.




        In response to a residential fire at 509 Division, at approximately 2:30 P.M. Neighbors had called the CFD. Capt. Melvin Taylor said that the men had "to use air packs to enter the house". The firemen found Myers on the floor of the kitchen. Edward Kallis, Charleston police detective, said that "the fire apparently started from a lit cigarette that fell in a chair in the front room." A preliminary investigation indicated that the cigarette burned its way through the chair and then landed on a can of lighter fluid causing the fire to become more intense. "Pending the outcome of an autopsy, it appears that he dead before the fire,: said Kallis. "He was not burned at all. The fire was confined to the front room.: said Kallis. Taylor said that all the fire damage was in the one room. The rest of the house received some smoke and water damage. No outside damage was done. 




       Nearby Effingham, Illinois was waiting for their own ladder truck, after approval by their city council. Meanwhile, St. Anthony Catholic Church had a problem with a loose sheet of tin on their roof near the belfry. It was flapping in the wind. Because of the danger that it might pull loose and injure a passerby or damage nearby property, Msgr. John J. McGrath, pastor, contacted Fireman William Thies, who in turn got in touch with Fire Chief Charles Chamberlain. Since the Effingham Fire Department had no equipment which would reach 86 feet into the air, CFD was contacted and sent its aerial ladder. The picture above shows one of the crew (Captain Mel Taylor) as he made his way up the ladder to the base of the belfry to remove the sheet of tin.




PUBLIC SERVICE  Ladder truck used to help St. Anthony Church (left)
and at Charleston High School (right) to change broken light fixtures