DOWNS — A recently replaced smoke detector and quick thinking by a retired judge kept fire from causing significant damage at a house in Downs.
Downs Assistant Chief Jeff Misch said a dehumidifier in the basement overheated and melted Saturday afternoon, igniting old paint stored nearby. No one was injured.
"I was upstairs and had just turned on the fireplace and thought I smelled smoke," said Ron Dozier, a retired judge and former McLean County prosecutor who lives in the 19000 block of Mallingham Lane.
"I thought it was unusual and I heard the smoke detector go off. I opened the door to the basement and was hit with black smoke," he said. "It smelled like burning rubber and I knew it was probably toxic. It kind of pushed me back and I thought the best thing to do was get out of there and call 911."
Misch said the fire didn't spread; damage was contained to the lower level of the two-story house. Firefighters from departments in Downs, LeRoy, Bloomington Township and Randolph Township responded.
"This was the most excitement this neighborhood has had in a long, long time," Dozier said.