Fire departments from throughout Southern Illinois joined forces to battle a downtown Carterville fire Monday night.
Smoke was noticed streaming from Corbell Electronics at 113 South Division just after 6 p.m. The building is located between the Create A Smile pantry and the former Carterville bakery.
Local fire departments responded to calls for more help throughout the evening and into the night. As many as 100 personnel were on hand from 15 different agencies. A Red Cross canteen truck arrived to provide relief to firefighters, and Pizza and Pasta Express in downtown Carterville was opened to hungry firefighters in the middle of the night.
West Frankfort firefighters got the call at 7:33 p.m. for the three-alarm fire and were on the scene until well after midnight.
"The fire was enormous," WFFD Firefighter Derek Sailliez said. "Calls were made to towns all over the area. My estimate is that there were about 200 firefighters there. Where we were stationed back in the alley, it wasn't all that hot, but you could feel the heat up front and we could smell the fire in downtown Herrin."
Sailliez also said that firefighters were still there after he and his crew left and will probably be spraying water on the buildings all day.
No injuries were reported. An apartment located above the former bakery was evacuated.
Due to a water main break downtown, water pressure dropped and multiple tanker trucks were needed to provide water. Tankers from several departments shuttled from local lakes, ponds and strip cuts. Portable reservoirs were set up at the scene.
The building was still smoking during the early morning hours but the fire was contained and most departments had returned to their home bases. Water runoff could be seen spread over several downtown blocks.
The building, which is a total loss, was more than a century old.