Firefighters battle three overnight fires

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

MARION, IL (KFVS) - Marion firefighters had a busy 24 hours of work. Three overnight fires, one after the other, left several properties damaged and many shaken Monday.

Marion Fire Chief Jack Reed says none of the fires are related, but he says two are suspicious, while the cause of the third is unknown.

The largest fire started just before four Monday morning, in a building in the 600 block of North Carbon Street.  Reed says due to the high temperatures, several area fire departments were called to help fight the blaze.  He says it took crews about an hour to get it under control.  The state fire marshal was also called in to help investigate.  Reed says that's due to the large amount of property lost.

The building houses two businesses, Coach's Choice Sporting Goods and Marion Health and Fitness. The owner of Marion Health and Fitness says they're working on a temporary location for customers to workout.

But that was just one of three fires crews responded to overnight.

Marion firefighters were called to an apartment building on north Jackson Street around 9:30 Sunday night. The victim says she was on the phone in her apartment when the fire alarm sounded in the hallway.

"I've never been through something like this in my whole life and I was scared, the way that (a pillow) was bursting into flames," Leann Hicks said.

Hicks says when she opened her apartment door she found a pillow on fire.  Authorities say the fire is suspicious.  Investigators say they do have a possible suspect in the case.

Meanwhile, officers are looking into a car fire, which investigators also call suspicious.  One of the victims says he and his fiancé were at home when they heard their car alarm go off.

"We could see that somebody ripped a hole in the top of our roof of our drop top convertible," Bernard Cole Jr. said. "I chased them down but I couldn't catch them. My fiancé jumped in the car and tried to chase them down."

Cole says his finance followed the suspects to a dead end. He says they hit her and took the car.

Investigators say they first got a call about a stolen vehicle. Soon after, firefighters responded to a car fire on Pickett Lane.

Police say the suspects apparently set the vehicle on fire. Marion Assistant Police Chief John Eibeck says they have identified one suspect so far.

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