NORMAL — Fire officials are working Wednesday to determine the cause of a fire that damaged a home Tuesday night on North Main Street in Normal where four adults and two children inside escaped unhurt.
"I noticed the fire when I heard somebody screaming," said Michael Fay, 511 Grant St., Normal, who lives across the street from the fire scene at 611 N. Main St. "I looked out the window and the entire south end of the house was on fire. The flames were shooting above the roof."
Firefighters were called at 7:29 p.m. to what initially was reported as a fully involved garage fire, Battalion Chief Jim Vaughn said. When firefighters arrived, they saw flames engulfing the south side of the house, which included an attached garage with a deck above it.
Flames burned up the side of the two-story house, through the deck and into the attic. Most of the fire damage was in the attic, but there was water and smoke damage on the main floor as well, Vaughn said.
A preliminary damage estimate was about $50,000.
Fire department spokesman Matt Swaney described the occupants as four adults, two of whom may be older teens, and two younger teens. Additional information was not available Tuesday night.
The American Red Cross of the Heartland was called to assist the residents, who would not be able to stay in the house Tuesday night. The house is a rental unit, and it was unclear whether the residents had renter's insurance.
Neighbors said they believed the residents moved in within the last two weeks.
Firefighters were told the residents were watching television when the power went off. They went outside to investigate and found fire in the southwest corner of the attached garage.
Off-duty Normal firefighters were called in along with a Rapid Intervention Team from the Bloomington Fire Department. Bloomington firefighters also responded to a report of a kitchen fire on Normal's west side during the Main Street firefighting effort, but no fire was found on arrival there.
It took about 30 minutes to bring the Main Street fire under control, and firefighters remained on the scene for about another hour to find and extinguish hot spots, Swaney said.
Main Street was closed between Gregory Street/Bowles Street and Manchester Road until shortly after 9 p.m. The fire scene was about a block north of University High School.