NORMAL — If Monday evening’s fire at Lakeview Condominiums happened a few hours later, lives may have been lost, fire officials said Tuesday.
“This is a fire that could have been a lot worse had it started a few hours later, after the occupants were asleep. The smoke detector batteries were dead so the only way anyone knew there was a fire was someone noticing the smoke as they were walking by,” Normal Fire Chief Mick Humer said in a statement.
No injuries were reported.
Fire officials were called about 7:15 p.m. to the unit at 903 N. Linden St. after someone noticed smoke escaping the roof of one of the buildings.
No one was inside the condo at the time of the fire. The residents are insured and have found temporary housing, according to Normal fire officials.
The fire was contained to the attic and put out in about 15 minutes. But the second story sustained water damage and the ceiling was pulled down by firefighters gaining entry to make sure the fire hadn’t spread.
Staff remained on scene about an hour.
Damage to the building and property within is estimated at $45,000.
The cause remains under investigation.
“We can’t stress enough for everyone to test their smoke alarms and make sure they have fresh batteries. It can make a huge difference and potentially save your life,” said Matt Swaney, the fire department’s public education officer.