“It’s been a very tumultuous four days, believe me,” said Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig. “We’ve had four working fires, two of which have been two-alarm fires.
The first was at an apartment complex Wednesday evening, and it’s been seemingly non-stop since then. Overall, 17 residents were displaced from their homes, one firefighter suffered minor injuries, and one person was taken to the hospital. But despite all the physical damage left behind, lives were saved in the process.
“Within the last 24 hours we’ve actually made two rescues of two different people from two different fires,” said Ludwig.
“It can easily go the other way,” said Champaign firefighter, Andy Monts. “And all too often it does go the other way. So when you get some of these where you are able to make a positive difference, it feels good.”
The fires that occurred Wednesday at 402 Briar Lane and Thursday at 1502 Maplecrest Drive have been ruled accidental. Meanwhile, the other two that happened early Saturday on Mattis Avenue and Sunday at an apartment complex on Karen Court remain under investigation. Ludwig says the time of year could provide some explanation for the recent surge.
“The colder it gets there’s more people using different types of heating sources,” said Ludwig. “As a result of that usually you have more fires.”
But the cold also makes it harder for those trying to put out the flames.
“Moving hose lines, and couplings, and things freeze up,” said Monts. “So it just takes a little more attention to do the job and do it well.”
And with four fires in four days with no lives lost, these firefighters can hang up their coats after a job well done.