Two Overnight Fires Spark Investigation in Galesburg

Published 04/08 2014 06:10PM

Updated 04/08 2014 06:13PM

GALESBURG - The Galesburg Fire Department is looking into what sent two vacant locations up in flames within hours of each other while business owners clean up from the second blaze.

The first was a house on South Academy Street, which burned down to the frame after a midnight.

“It did come in as totally involved, which means most of the structure was on fire,” said Capt. Randy Hovind. “Looks like that's going to be a total loss.”

He said firefighters didn’t have much time to rest.

“They were wrapping up that fire up and cleaning up when the second fire came in”

Ashes were still scattered on the sidewalk Tuesday afternoon after crews put out flames on East Main Street. The only connection so far is that the house and store were both vacant.

Hovind said arson would be part of the investigation, but at that time there wasn’t enough information to determine how either fire started.

The main street fire happened in a building containing multiple businesses. The flower shop to the right of where the fire started has already put up its closed sign because of smoke and water damage. The two businesses to the left of the fire are also dealing with problems. Wil Azer owns 156 East, a banquet venue, and Azer Medical Supply.

‘The place smells like smoke and we've had a lot of smoke coming from the other side,” Azer said. “I've been in this building right now for about 20 minutes and my eyes are kind of burning.”

He has a crew working furiously to suck out the smell of smoke, hoping it won’t linger for too long.

“It's an inconvenience for our customers at the medical store and for our customers here so we don't know how fast we're going to reopen,” he said.

The fire department knows the Main Street fire started in an electrical room, but investigators still aren't sure how it started. Azer said it's frustrating because of how hard the city has worked to revive its downtown.

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