PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — (UPDATE — 4:05 p.m.) — Peoria Fire investigators believe a fire at the Women’s Care Center Monday morning was intentionally set.
Investigators announced Monday afternoon arson was the cause of the fire. The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and Peoria Police Department are helping with an ongoing investigation.
(PREVIOUS) — Peoria fire crews quickly put out the flames to a building fire early Monday morning.
Calls came in at 2:45 am for a building on fire at 7319 N University St. This is home to the Women’s Care Center. When crews arrived on the scene, fire and smoke were coming out of the building.
According to Acting Battalion Chief Aaron Meuser, responding firefighters knocked down the fire very quickly. The commercial building was locked and no one was inside.
Fire investigators followed shortly behind to investigate the cause of the fire.
According to a press release from the Peoria Fire Department, the estimated damage is about $250,000.
Meuser said the fire was mainly contained to one large room just inside the building’s front door.
Later that morning, a teary-eyed Connie McClure came to the scene. She is the director of Women’s Care Center in Peoria.
“We will continue to care for the women that need us,” McClure said.
On scene was the Illinois State Fire Marshall. Peoria Fire Chief Tony Ardis said it is protocol to call Arson Investigators as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (AFT) for fires like these. He indicated that facilities like Women’s Care Center can often be targeted for arson fires.
Crews are still on the scene, and this will be updated as more information comes in.