SAVOY – Workers for the Department of Children and Family Services office in Savoy had to report to the department's Champaign office this morning, after fire heavily damaged the roof of the Savoy office.
Department spokesman Kendall Marlowe said all records remain secure in the building and have not been damaged.
Marlowe said DCFS employees will be temporarily assigned to other offices in the area, including Champaign, Urbana, Charleston and Monticello.
According to Marlowe, DCFS clients and families can continue to use the same telephone number, 278-5300..
"Those calls will be forwarded to another location and will be answered by Savoy staff," Marlowe said.
The Savoy DCFS office handled licensing for child care facilities.
The state fire marshal's office is investigating the fire; no cause or damage estimate were available this morning.
The late afternoon fire destroyed the roof and damaged several offices at the DCFS building, 1806 Woodfield Drive, Savoy, on Wednesday.
According to a Savoy Fire Department report, a passing motorist noticed smoke and fire coming out of the offices and reported it at 4:26 p.m. Firefighters arrived at 4:30 p.m., according to Savoy Assistant Fire Chief David Well Jr.
"When we arrived, we had fire showing from the southeast corner of the roof and smoke showing all the way around the roof," Well said.
Thick smoke soon spread across U.S. 45, which was temporarily closed between Windsor Road and Curtis Road.
While some Savoy firefighters worked to contain the fire in the building's attic, other firefighters worked to put out flames in other parts of the building.
Firefighters from the Tolono, Eastern Prairie, Cornbelt, Edge Scott, Willard and Carroll fire departments helped out.
According to Well, there were 12 people in the DCFS building at the time of the fire.
"The office was still open," Well said.
All of them escaped unharmed, though Well said one of them received treatment for a minor injury sustained outside of the building. No firefighters were hurt.
Well said the fire was under control by 5:58 p.m., and firefighters left the scene at about 10:45 p.m.
Well said the fire appears to have started in the attic of the building.
"There had been some work taking place on the roof earlier that afternoon, but those people had left prior to the fire," Well said. "The cause is still being investigated by the state fire marshal's office."
Well said there was significant damage to the attic and roof of the structure. The interior office portion of the building also sustained substantial smoke and water damage, he said.
Well said village records list the owner of the building as John M. Johnson of Champaign.
Well said Wednesday's fire demonstrates the importance for businesses to develop an emergency escape plan.
"You need to have a central location for people to meet outside the building so you can take a head count," Well said.
The department investigates reports of suspected neglect and abuse of children and provides child welfare services for families with children.