BLOOMINGTON — Fire destroyed a 30-by-40-foot garage and several vehicles and damaged a nearby house Wednesday afternoon in southwest Bloomington, and sprinklers extinguished a bedroom fire around the same time at a student apartment complex in Normal.
One of the Bloomington homeowners suffered minor burns to his face and shoulder, but no other injuries were reported in either fire.
Firefighters were called at 12:45 p.m. to 1301 Alexander Road when a fire broke out in the garage, which also housed a shop, near the two-story house, said Bloomington Township Fire Chief Tom Willan.
The fire spread to a sun room attached to the house, burning out its ceiling and windows, and intense heat broke a bedroom window, he said. The house also sustained smoke damage throughout, he said.
The heat also melted siding on a detached two-car garage about 10 feet behind the burning garage, he said.
The fire also destroyed a car and pickup truck and possibly a four-wheeler inside the larger garage and a pickup truck parked outside, Willan said.
Dark smoke from that fire could be seen from as far away as Normal. The house is about a mile west of Morris Avenue and about a quarter mile north of Six Points Road.
Resident Dave Price was working near the larger garage and his wife, Sandy, was doing laundry in the house when the fire broke out. A son was not home at the time.
Price initially tried to put out the fire but gave up when it grew too hot.
"There's welding gas inside the garage," Dave Price said, watching the firefighting effort as small explosions could be heard coming from the blaze.
Firefighters reached the scene at 12:54 p.m. and brought the fire under control in about 40 minutes, Willan said, adding efforts concentrated on containing the fire to the original building.
"It was a defensive operation from the start because it was fully involved," Willan said. "We didn't make entry."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation but is not suspicious, Willan said. He did not have a dollar value estimate for the loss.
Dave Price said he wasn't going to seek treatment for the burns until the fire was under control. Willan said no one was taken from the scene by ambulance.
Sandy Price said she was concerned about the family dog that was still inside the house, but the dog later appeared outside during the firefighting effort.
The family couldn't stay in the house because of the smoke damage, but their needs were being handled by their insurance company, Willan said.
At least 13 units from Bloomington Township, Bloomington, Heyworth and Downs fire departments were at the scene. The last firefighters left the scene at 3:26 p.m.
Lodge on Willow fire
In Normal, firefighters were called about 1:30 p.m. to The Lodge on Willow, a student apartment building at 214 W. Willow St., where smoke was coming from a third-floor bedroom window.
“The first two firefighters who entered the apartment said the heat activated the sprinkler system, which put the fire out,” said Normal fire Battalion Chief Ed Collins.
Collins said the fire was “contained to the room of origin,” but the apartment “had significant water damage.”
The cause also remains under investigation, and no damage estimate was available Wednesday.
The resident wasn't home when the fire started, and there were no injuries.
The building, managed by Young America Realty, is insured, firefighters said. Representatives worked with residents of the affected apartment to finding temporary lodging until repairs are done.