UPDATED 7:15 p.m.
CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign family will have to find another place to live after fire heavily damaged their home Saturday afternoon.
Danecia Hill said she; her two sons, ages 8 and 5; her boyfriend, Kendun Payne; and another male friend were home at 412 E. Columbia Ave., when someone knocked on the door and told them the house was on fire.
Hill said she hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary before the passerby knocked about 3:25 p.m.
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Mitchell said after calling 911, the occupants put water on the house in an unsuccessful attempt to get the fire out. Flames on the west side of the house worked their way upward into the attic.
No one was hurt but the one-story house at the northwest corner of Columbia Avenue and North Fourth Street was so badly damaged that the residents will be unable to live there. Firefighters had to pull down ceilings and cut a hole in the roof to get at the fire, Mitchell said.
Smoke poured from the attic for more than 40 minutes. Mitchell said firefighters arrived at 3:33 p.m. and had the fire out at 4:10 p.m.
Hill said the house is owned by Reggie Jones and that she has been living there for about a year. The Champaign County Assessor’s office lists the owner of the single-family home as Jones Property Management.
Fire Capt. Glen Daniels said firefighters estimated damage to the house at $30,000 and put damage to the contents at $10,000.
Investigators were trying to figure out what started the fire. The last firefighters left just before 6 p.m.
An emergency services support team was working with the Red Cross to find housing for the family.
Mitchell said the house had working smoke detectors that sounded as soon as the smoke made its way inside the house.