PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Fire Department announced Tuesday that they are treating two house fires that occurred within minutes of each other Monday night as arson.
At approximately 8:35 p.m. Monday, the Peoria Fire Department was dispatched to a structure house fire located at 1615 W. Lincoln Ave. When firefighters arrived, they found the back of the residence fully engulfed in flames.
Minutes later, firefighters were dispatched to another fire consuming two houses on Easton St.
“The second fire came about 15 minutes later, and one of those structures that was impacted was vacant and the other one was occupied, where the fire actually started,” said Sollberger.
It took three hours to quench the blazes. Sollberger said resources were stretched thin.
“We ended up at one point in the city for about 30 minutes, we had only one apparatus that was left in the city. We called East Peoria for mutual aid, we called back firefighters and ordered them back in to man fire stations,” he said.
Two firefighters were hurt. They are doing okay but will be out of work for a while, Sollberger said.
Both fires were deemed arson. Sollberger said some clues were the advanced stages of the fires, the fires starting outside the home, and the proximity of the two fires, just minutes from each other.
“Those are usually strong indicators that they’re intentionally set,” said Sollberger.
The Lincoln St. home and one of the Easton houses were abandoned. Two residents escaped unharmed from the other Easton home. Their home and the Lincoln home were demolished this morning on an emergency basis.
The American Red Cross is assisting the two individuals displaced by the fire.
This is an active investigation. Anyone with information about either fire is encouraged to call the lead Arson Investigator, Josh Harris, at 309-494-8726.