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Chester firefighters have busy weekend

  • Pictured is the space heater believed to have caused the house fire on Seymour Lake Road in Ellis Grove on Saturday.

    Pictured is the space heater believed to have caused the house fire on Seymour Lake Road in Ellis Grove on Saturday.
    Courtesy Chester Fire Department

Herald Tribune Staff Report
updated: 12/18/2017 12:40 AM

In what appears to be a record year for calls for service from their department, Chester firefighters had a busy weekend addressing a variety of incidents.
It started Friday afternoon, when firefighters received the report of a downed power line in the 1700 block of State Street near Trader Bill's.
Traffic was diverted onto Swanwick Street while firefighters waited for an Ameren Illinois crew to address the problem.
"We think a farm tractor came by and pulled it down," said Chester Fire Chief Marty Bert. "That wire was pulled down six months ago by a tractor-trailer and we believe it was hanging too low."
Then at 1:27 a.m. Saturday morning, Chester firefighters were paged to assist the Perryville Fire Department with a house fire at 307 Quinn Street on the city's northeast side. Bert said the house's residents made it out safe.
"Perryville was short on manpower and when they call us, they can usually get six to eight guys," Bert said. "They only had six people when they left their firehouse.
"We've helped them on the other side of Perryville before, it just depends on how much manpower they can get from other departments."
Later Saturday morning, Chester firefighters were paged at 11:34 a.m. to assist Ellis Grove firefighters with a reported structure fire at 717 Seymour Lake Road. The fire started in a basement bedroom and damaged three other rooms in the basement before it was extinguished.
The cause of the fire has been ruled as an electric space heater, according to Ellis Grove Fire Chief Mike Jackson. The house is owned by Ben and Amanda Miers and no one was home at the time of the fire.
"There are two houses close together," Jackson said. "Two residents in one and the grandpa lives in the second one.
"He called his grandson and told him he saw smoke coming out of the house."
Ellis Grove firefighters were on scene for about two hours in that incident. Bert commended them for getting a quick knock on the fire.
"Ellis Grove did a really good job on that one," he said. "Not only did they knock it down pretty quick, they had stuff ready for us when we got there as we assist on investigations.
"They're learning, this might have been their first house fire in a year, but they've got a good department over there."
Almost four and a half hours later, at 3:53 p.m., the CFD was paged to the report of an electrical fire at 1040 Henry Street in Chester. Bert told the Herald Tribune firefighters arrived to find smoke in the house with a strong smell of burnt plastic.
The cause was determined to be an overloaded electrical outlet.
"Overloaded with too many things, one being a space heater," Bert said in a text message to the newspaper.
Ellis Grove was paged for mutual aid, but canceled en route.
Then on Sunday evening, Chester firefighters were paged to Maple Street for a lift assist, wrapping up five calls in 72 hours.

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