• From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 08:00:58 -0800 (PST)

Fire destroys businesses, post office

in historic section of West Frankfort

By Tim Hastings

American News Service

WEST FRANKFORT -- West Frankfort Fire Chief Larry Jamrozek said he was unsure 
of the cause of a fire which destroyed the Frankfort Heights Post Office, a 
hair salon and three other businesses occupying a single one-story building Ton 
East Main Street Tuesday night.

"I'm leaning toward an electrical cause," Jamrozek said, "but I'm not sure. I 
don't know if we'll ever know the cause."

Jamrozek said Wednesday morning that he did not consider the origin of the fire 

Jamrozek said employees and patrons of the Yankee Clipper, a hair salon in the 
1700 block of East Main Street, were evacuated from the salon when the fire 
began in the roof above them.

"Apparently people across the street had smelled some smoke and got them out," 
Jamrozek said.

He said firefighters started their attack inside the building about 7:30 p.m.

"Our initial attack was inside," he said. "Once we got inside, there was a 
backdraft explosion that blew out the back of the building. We pulled our men 
out and fought the blaze from outside and protected the structures around the 

Three firefighters attempting to fight the blaze from a ladder extended over 
the roof of the hair salon got off the ladder after the roof became engulfed in 

According to Jamrozek, no one was injured in the blaze.

He estimated the damage to the buildings to be $250,000; the damage estimate to 
contents was unknown.

"Sometimes they estimate contents at half of the value of the building," he 

Jamrozek said he hoped to get a backhoe on site Wednes-day to allow the post 
office to see if any mail was salvageable in post-office boxes.

"Once we get a backhoe in here, we can get the mail out," he said. "I can't get 
in there now because the structure is unsafe."

The Frankfort Heights Post-mistress, Jan Bubanovich, was at the site at 7:30 
a.m. Wednes-day but said post office policy required her to refer all questions 
to her supervisors.

Jamrozek said his staff fought the fire until 1 a.m. Wednesday. Benton, 
Zeigler, Carterville, Thompsonville, Johnston City and Royalton Fire 
departments assisted.

West Frankfort Police guarded the remains of the post office throughout the 
night. A section of Main Street near the destroyed building was still blocked 
to traffic in both directions Wednesday morning.



Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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