WOOD RIVER — The 911 call came in at 11:35 p.m. Thursday to Wood River’s dispatch with a report of heavy smoke at the apartment complex on Thompson Street.
Firefighters arrived to find it was not a false alarm and took immediate measures to clear the building. The fire was contained to a single bedroom on the basement level .
“We are very fortunate,” Roxana Fire Chief Daryl Trask said. “This could have gone bad really fast. There doesn’t appear to be any injuries and the fire damage seems to be limited; however, there is heavy smoke damage.”
Residents were in cars and bundled up in the cold while firefighters stabilized the scene and investigators started their work on determining the fire’s cause.
“At this point we’ve called in the fire marshal to do an investigation,” Wood River police officer Chris Johnson said. “All fires are investigated; however, we are treating this fire as suspicious. The fire marshal will be able to make that determination and let our detectives know his findings.”
The apartment was occupied at the time of the fire by two young children and three adults. All occupants of the apartment were able to make it outside, but one resident was without shoes.
“I don’t care if I have anything as long as the kids got out safe,” an unidentified resident said. “The smoke was so thick, one of the kids fell down the stairs — we couldn’t see anything. They gave us blankets and the kids are keeping warm in the police car right now.”
As part of the investigation, officers with the WRPD are interviewing neighbors and talking with the apartment complex residents and the occupants of the apartment involved.
Firefighters from Wood River, East Alton and Roxana responded. Edwardsville was called off from mutual aid when the fire was contained.