Fire damages vacant house in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN — Fire heavily damaged a vacant home in north Champaign late Monday night.

A man believed to be trespassing got out safely, according to Champaign Fire department spokeswoman Dena Schumacher.

She said firefighters were sent to the house at 903 N. Walnut St. at 11:52 p.m. Monday.

There were heavy flames coming out the front of the single-story wood frame home. It had been posted with a private property sign at the front door.

Schumacher did not know the man’s name who was inside but said he met with Champaign police.

Firefighters were challenged in putting out the fire, which they had struck in about 17 minutes, by what she described as a "spongy floor with holes."

Schumacher said the city’s Neighborhood Services department has been notified about the property, which she said is owned by Soo Qeong Palomaki.That department is seeking the repair or demolition of the property and a court date on the request  is scheduled for next week. The same house was heavily damaged by fire Nov. 2 and that damage had not been repaired, Schumacher said.

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