The Galesburg Fire Department received a call from a passerby just after midnight Tuesday, alerting them to the fact that 472 S. Academy St., the house just opposite the Knox College softball field, was engulfed in flames.
GFD reached the scene at approximately 12:12 a.m., two minutes after the initial call, and immediately proceeded to cordon off the area, which had drawn the attention of Galesburg residents in the vicinity, along with several Knox College students.
By then, the fire had already progressed beyond the point where GFD’s efforts would have made any difference, according to fire officials.
Galesburg Fire Department Chief Tom Simkins told The Knox Student Tuesday that there were no casualties to report from the blaze, and the house was uninhabited at the time of the fire. According to Simkins, the house had no signs of working electricity or gas lines running in or out of the building, raising some red flags about the fire’s cause.
The GFD was met with another challenge that same morning at approximately 3:00 a.m., when the building of 148 East Main Street went up in flames. GFD Chief Simkins stated that the fire’s origin had not been determined but according to the path that had been mapped out, it seemed to center in the building’s electrical room. The building is reported to have been vacant at the time of the fire.
There were no casualties reported from the fire, however there was some smoke and physical damage to each of the buildings that are connected to 148 East Main Street. The fire originated there, and ran the risk of spreading to the adjoining buildings, as the roof gave way, if not for the work of the GFD. Chief Simkins also stated that the fire was already fully developed and for the firefighters to get in, they needed to cut through Blossoms flower shop in order to reach the burning buildings.
(Updated 4/15: Galesburg Fire and Police Officials now believe the fire to have been arson and are urging anyone who has information to call them at 309-343-9151.)