house fire

Smoke engulfs firefighters as they prepare to enter a home Wednesday on Flora Drive in Champaign.

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CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign firefighter was taken to a local hospital with injuries sustained in a house fire Wednesday afternoon in west Champaign in which the occupant’s dog died.

A neighbor summoned firefighters to the single-story bungalow in the 300 block of Flora Drive, between University and Springfield avenues, at 2:24 p.m. Heavy smoke was pouring from the house.

Fire department spokesman Randy Smith said while working on the blaze, one of the firefighter's breathing masks became dislodged from his face and he breathed in the smoke-filled air but was able to get out of the house. Fire and EMS crews immediately began providing care, and he was taken to a local hospital, where he is in intensive care in severe but stable condition. His name was not released.

Other firefighters were called to get the fire out.

While firefighters were helping their stricken colleague, the occupant of the home was alerting police on the scene that his dog was in the house. He had to be held back to keep from running into the burning home.

The occupant was later seen outside weeping over his dog, which died in the fire.

Smith said the cause of the fire and amount of damage has not yet been determined, but the occupant will be displaced as the home is no longer livable.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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