Staunton fire consumes multiple buildings
By: JORDAN GRUCZA
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
A fire consumed a pair of two-story buildings in Staunton at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4. Firefighters were on the scene for nearly seven hours as the fire spread.
The buildings were located near East Main and South Laurel streets, and included a business on the first floor, Clipping House Pet Grooming and Boarding, which was soon approaching its opening date.
Two sections of the business were destroyed by the fire while a third received smoke and water damage. There were no animals in the business at the time.
The second floors housed a small apartment complex.
“There was no way we could access the starting point of the fire to determine the cause,” said Staunton Fire Protection District Chief Rick Haase. “It was accidental in nature.
“There was a traffic stop that was going on, and the police officer at this traffic stop was the one who discovered the fire,” said Haase. “There had been some people that were up in the apartment and he went up and helped evacuate the apartments before the fire department was able to get to the scene.
“There was nothing on the scene to indicate anything happened other than an electrical issue or some other accidental cause,” Haase said.
Fire crews reacted quickly to contain the spread of the fire on the city block, which contains eight interconnected buildings. Olive, Mt. Olive and Gillespie Unit 7 Fire Protection Districts and Litchfield and Edwardsville dire departments assisted with putting out the fire.
The Staunton community and organizations also reacted quickly to the fire.
Staunton Helping Hands Center, a local food pantry, personal development and resource center for Macoupin County, stated that there are four displaced residents from the fire who presently have their housing needs met due to donations from the community and from the Clergy Association.
The city of Staunton and Staunton Township provided barricades and spread ice melt on the fire scene.
Gift cards to local food establishments and convenience stores and gas stations are a high priority for the displaced residents, as the residents are unable to cook or refrigerate food in their current housing. Gift card as well as hygiene donations can be routed to Lori Semanik at the Helping Hands Center at (618) 779-5723.
“There has been overwhelmingly generous support,” Semanik said. “Staunton has really risen to the occasion. I am super proud of the people here. There are a lot of big hearts in this community.”
Clothing and belongings can be donated directly to His Service Station of Staunton.
Illinois Valley is working with the residents to discuss options for long-term housing.
Thursday, Jan. 9, the Dairy Queen in Staunton will donate 25 percent of all sales to four families who lost their home in the Saturday evening fire.