Small fire put out at Park Place Tower

CHAMPAIGN — A cigarette butt flipped into rubber roofing squares was the apparent cause of a small fire at a campus apartment building late Saturday morning.

Champaign fire investigator John Koller said firefighters were called to the Park Place Tower, 202 E. Green St., C, about 11:33 a.m. to put out a fire on a second-floor terrace.

"It was more smoke than anything," said Koller.

He described the materials that caught fire as rubberized roofing squares intended for a deck. The fire spread to debris under the squares, burning about 10 of them  just above the overhang for the retail floor of the building. The fire was contained to  a 20-square foot area and caused about $5,000 damage, Koller said.

Koller said the apartments are mostly vacant but maintenance and cleaning crews were working in the building getting them ready for students to move in next week. He was not sure who spotted the fire but said a maintenance worker doused it with water even before firefighters arrived.

"It could have been a lot worse," said Koller.

The fire was quickly put out and workers were allowed back in the building by noon. Koller said he was the last one to leave at 1 p.m, after confirming that the fire was accidentally started.

Green Street between First and Third streets was closed to traffic for a while.

The Champaign County supervisor of assessment's website lists the owner of the property as the Preiss Co.

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