Former 'Wake the Dead' building catches fire

No injuries reported in structure fire

Latest: 4:30 pm, 1/10/18, Wednesday 

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) -- Investigators are trying to determine what cause a fire at a vacant building. It happened at the former Wake the Dead building, on Eldorado Street.

A fire inspector says there may have been squatters living on the premises, but they're still trying to piece together what happened. Windows on one side of the building are blown out.

Crews were able to extinguish the fire in about a half hour. It was plenty of time to attract the attention of people in nearby businesses.

It took five fire engines and nearly two dozen firefighters to put out the blaze. The cause is currently undetermined. 

Anyone with information should contact authorities.

Decatur Fire Department
(217) 424 - 2811 

Update: 10:00 pm, 1/9/18, Tuesday

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) -- Tuesday night, crews rushed to the scene of a burning, two-story, brick building, at the intersection of North Jasper and East Eldorado Street.

The electricity and gas had been cut off for some time, but firefighters found bedding and dog kennels strewn about the inside of the building which once hosted a dual coffeehouse and church crowd, leading them to believe someone had taken up residency inside. No one was hurt.

Officials believe the former 'Wake the Dead' building was vacant when neighbors first noticed plumes of thick gray smoke billowing out of the first floor windows along Jasper Street. 

"I heard that there was a brick building on fire and I was on my way to church for a meeting," Sherry Evans said. "I came by here and noticed there was flames and smoke rolling out of the building." 

Officials are comparing notes and analyzing evidence before they come to an official determination about the cause of the fire, but one veteran fireman said he saw enough to indicate the flame was likely sparked by a human who had access to the building.

The northwest corner of the building took heavy smoke and water damage, but fire officials are confident the remainder of the structure can be salvaged. 

Original: 7:45 pm, 1/9/18, Tuesday 

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) --  Crews are on the scene of a building fire. 

Our media partners at the Decatur Herald & Review report the fire is at the corner of Jasper and El Dorado, home of the former Wake the Dead church and coffeehouse.

Firefighters say no one was inside at the time. A witness says the fire started about 7 pm. They saw flames coming out bottom floor windows and called 911.


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